March 20, 2016
By Russell Dorn
RALEIGH, N.C. – Down 5-0 entering the bottom of the third inning, No. 13 NC State rallied to plate 16 runs over the game’s final six frames to earn a 16-6 victory over the University of Notre Dame baseball team in eight innings Sunday afternoon at Doak Field.
After the Irish failed to score in the top of the eighth inning the game was called due to a travel curfew for Notre Dame that was set by the Atlantic Coast Conference prior to the 2016 season even beginning. Because the Irish had an early evening flight, no inning could start later than 3:45 p.m. (ET). A game that began at 12 p.m. (ET) moved slowly throughout due in large part to a combined 22 runs, 23 hits, 13 walks, eight pitchers and several coaching visits and discussions.
With the win, the Wolfpack (16-6, 3-3 ACC) claimed the ACC weekend series, 2-1.
Coming off a thrilling, come-from-behind victory Saturday in 12 innings, the Irish stormed out of the gates by posting five runs in the first three innings and running off Wolfpack starting pitcher Johnny Piedmonte after just two innings (3 H, 5 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO).
The momentum was short lived, however, as the Wolfpack bats woke up in the third. NC State posted five runs in the third to tie the game before tallying one in the fourth, two in the fifth and sixth and six in the seventh to round out its scoring.
Notre Dame tied the game at six in the fifth inning on an RBI double by senior co-captain Lane Richards, but the Wolfpack answered with more runs in the bottom half to take the lead for good.
Every single player in the NC State batting order totaled a hit, including second baseman Stephen Pitarra, who went 4-for-5 with two RBI and four runs scored, and first baseman Preston Palmeiro, who recorded two hits, four RBI and a run scored.
NC State hurler Ryan Williamson (4-0) picked up the win after coming in for Piedmonte and settling the Wolfpack down over five innings of work (4 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 7 SO).
For Notre Dame, senior Zak Kutsulis finished off a sterling weekend with another multi-hit day (2-for-4) and two runs scored. Over the three-game set, Kutsulis posted a split of .467/.467/.533 with seven hits, two RBI and four runs scored to raise his season split to .361/.418/.500 with 26 hits, five doubles, one triple, one homer, 13 RBI, six walks and 10 runs scored. He leads the Irish in average, slugging, hits, RBI and total bases (36) and is tied for first in doubles and triples.
Richards had a weekend split of .417/.533/.667 with five hits (3 2B), three RBI, three walks and two runs scored and Biggio posted a split of .333/.500/.500 and four hits (2 2B), two RBI, four walks and two runs scored.
Notre Dame (8-10, 1-5 ACC) returns home to Frank Eck Stadium at 6:05 p.m. (ET) Tuesday to meet UIC. Tickets are still available for the contest and can be purchased through UND.com/buytickets or by heading to the ticket offices at Purcell Pavilion during the week or Frank Eck Stadium on game day. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for youth/seniors. Fans that can’t make it out can follow along through WatchND (Video), live stats or by listening locally on 103.1 FM in South Bend. Links are available on the baseball schedule page of UND.com.
For more information on the Notre Dame baseball, follow the Irish on Facebook (/NDBaseball), Twitter (@NDBaseball) and Instagram (notredamebaseball).
Russell Dorn, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2011 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame volleyball, rowing and baseball programs. A native of Greenwood, South Carolina, Dorn graduated from Furman University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in history before earning his master’s degree in sports communications from Georgia State University in 2011.