The NC State baseball team saw its 2017 season come to a close with a 10-5 loss against No. 11 Kentucky Monday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Despite falling one win shy of advancing to the NCAA Super Regional, the Wolfpack won 16 of its final 21 games to conclude the season at 36-25 overall.
Kentucky (43-21) won the regional and will play Louisville in the NCAA Super Regional.
Sophomore Brett Kinneman put NC State on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second, as he launched a two-run home run to deep right field to give the Wolfpack a 2-0 lead. Freshman Brad Debo doubled to start the inning and scored on Kinneman's 10th round-tripper.
Kentucky countered with four runs in the top of the fourth to grab a 4-2 lead. The Wolfpack answered in the bottom half with a pair of runs to level the score at 4-4.
Joe Dunand walked and scored on a double down the left field line by Will Wilson. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Wilson scored on a sacrifice fly to deep right field by Evan Mendoza.
NC State took the lead in the fifth after Stephen Pitarra walked and scored on a double to left center by Josh McLain. The Kentucky outfielder mishandled the ball, which allowed Pitarra to score giving the Wolfack a 5-4 advantage.
The Wildcats capitalized on a miscue by the Wolfpack to plate three runs in the seventh, despite having just one hit in the inning to take a 7-5 lead. Kentucky tacked on three runs in the ninth to garner a 10-5 win.
NCSU threatened in the bottom of the sixth putting runners at first and second with two down, but Kentucky brought in the SEC Pitcher of the Year Sean Hjelle, who got a flyout to left field on a sharply-hit ball to end the inning.
After Piedmonte exited, Cody Beckman entered the contest and pitched really well for three innings. He retired seven in a row at one point and struck out a pair of batters.
Wilson led the Wolfpack at the plate with a 2-for-4 performance, including an RBI and a run scored. Debo, Kinneman and McLain each had one hit in the contest. Wilson and Andy Cosgrove each extended their reached base safely streaks to 16 games, while Dunand and Mendoza stretched their streaks to 11 games.
NC State returns a strong group of players for next year's squad, as several Wolfpack players await the 2017 MLB Draft held June 12-14.