The NC State baseball team fell to the Rhode Island Island Rams 5-2 Friday afternoon at Doak Field.
The Wolfpack lost its second-straight game and couldn’t catch a break as its bats were kept mostly silent by Rhode Island lefty Tyler Wilson.
Thle Pack falls to 5-4 on the year while the Rams evened their record to 4-4.
“I think we’re kind of playing individually right now,” head coach Elliott Avent said. “This is a team that’s good enough to win, but right now we’re not playing good enough to win.
Senior righthander Sean Adler retired the side in order to start off the game, but ran into trouble in the second inning. After retiring the first Ram batter of the inning, Adler walked the leadoff hitter and then proceeded to yield a double and a single consecutively to put the Wolfpack in a 2-0 hole, but ended the inning without further damage.
State got on the scoreboard for the first time in the bottom of the third when junior centerfielder Josh McLain drilled a solo home run over the left field wall to cut the Rhode Island lead in half and make the score 2-1.
“He’s a sparkplug for us,” Avent said. “He’s one of the best center fielders I’ve ever had.”
McLain went 3 of 4 on the day, falling just a triple short of the cycle while also reaching base on an error.
“I was just looking for fastballs early,” McLain said. “I was just getting the pitches that I wanted.”
Rhode Island extended its lead in the sixth inning, when it advanced a runner to third and drew a walk to setup a three-run home run by Rams right fielder Mike Corin, pushing the score to 5-1 over the Pack
The Wolfpack added its second run of the game in the sixth inning. After junior third baseman Evan Mendoza hit into an unassisted double play on a solid line drive to shortstop, junior Joe Dunand launched a wind-aided triple off of the left field wall, scoring Mendoza from first and cutting the Rhode Island lead to 5-2.
Wilson was solid throughout the game, holding the Wolfpack to just five hits, two earned runs and one walk through six innings.
“[Wilson] is obviously a polished guy and a veteran guy who can command the game,” Avent said. “He commanded the game and we didn’t.”
For the Wolfpack, Adler turned in seven innings while surrendering five runs on five hits while striking out six and walking three.
Junior Evan Brabrand replaced Adler to close in the eighth and threw a clean inning, but ran into trouble in the ninth. After striking out the first two Rhode Island batters, Brabrand yielded two singles and a walk, but ultimately struck out Rams second baseman Chris Hess to end the bases-loaded threat and keep the score at 5-2.
With the last ups in the ninth, Dunand singled to left field to start off the inning. Sophomore left fielder Brett Kinneman promptly grounded out and freshman catcher Brad Debo popped out to the shortstop to end the game.
“We’re not playing as a team right now,” Avent said. “We’re not thinking the game, we’re not playing the game, we’re just kind of going through at bats right now.”
The Wolfpack looks to end its losing streak Saturday against Maryland at USA Baseball Complex. First pitch is set for 4:30 p.m.