RALEIGH, N.C. -- No. 1 North Carolina fell behind 7-0 after five innings before falling, 7-3, at No. 6 NC State Saturday night.
The Tar Heels (41-4, 19-3 ACC) tallied 12 hits on the night but were only able to push across the three runs as they stranded 14 runners on base for the night.
The Wolfpack (34-11, 15-8 ACC) pushed across a run in the third after both starting pitchers worked out of trouble in the first two innings. A leadoff single and stolen base by Trea Turner put a runner on second base for Brett Austin who singled to put NC State up 1-0 after three innings.
Carolina put two runners on base with one out in the fourth and looked to even things up when Mike Zolk sprayed a single to center field. Colin Moran rounded third on the single and centerfielder Brett Williams came up throwing. The throw from Williams skipped off the mound and right to catcher Brett Austin who caught the ball and tagged Moran as the two collided at the plate to end the inning.
The Wolfpack carried the momentum into the bottom of the fourth as they loaded the bases with one out against UNC starter Benton Moss. A RBI single that chopped over Moran's head at third scored a run before a RBI ground out and passed ball pushed the NC State lead to 4-0.
NC State tacked on three more runs in the fifth to make it a 7-0 advantage which was more than enough for Wolfpack starter Carlos Rodon.
Rodon struck out 10 in his 6.2 innings of work and was charged with a pair of runs when Cody Stubbs unleashed his seventh home run of the year.
Stubbs blasted a three-run shot in the seventh inning against reliever Grant Sasser to pull the Tar Heels within striking distance at 7-3.
Carolina put runners on the corners with one out in the eighth inning but were unable to solve reliever Travis Orwig who kept the deficit at 7-3 with a fly out and a pop out.
Tar Heel relief pitcher Trevor Kelley allowed a run on four hits in 3.2 innings of relief work as he kept the Tar Heel bullpen fresh for Sunday's finale.
Carolina will go for the series win on Sunday at 7 p.m. with left-hander Hobbs Johnson facing NC State's southpaw Brad Stone. The game will be televised live on ESPNU.