Wolfpack Baseball (17-11, 3-9 ACC, 5th Atlantic) kicks off their longest road trip of the season this weekend with a trip to Clemson for 3. Then a mid-week non-conf game in Greenville vs ECU next week precedes 4 games in 5 days at the DBAP (April 11-13 @Duke, April 15 vs Carolina).
That much ballyhooed game in Durham vs Carolina (16-12, 5-7 ACC, 5th Coastal ) is looking more and more like a clash of the also-rans, btw.
By the time the Pack returns to the Doak for its longest homestand of the season (4/18 thru 5/12, 15 straight games, 9 ACC games) it could be all over but the crying.
If it’s not already, that is.
Week in Review
Not gonna talk about Miami last weekend. Consecutive conference losses #’s 7, 8 and 9. ‘Nuff said.
Tuesday, State made up the trip to Campbell that was washed out the previous week. It took ‘em 12 innings to dispatch the Camels, but a 7 spot in the top of the 12th was the deciding factor.
Eric Peterson (2-2) scattered 4 hits in 5.0 innings of shutout ball, picking up the win.
Pack Rallies to Drop Campbell 9-2 in 12 Innings (GoPack.com)
On Wednesday, ECU came to town and the Pack was cruising. Until the 9th inning at least. Fortunately, as we told you here, Jake Fincher saved the day with the bases loaded to preserve the 3-2 win.
State Edges ECU on Fincher’s Walk-Off Web Gem (GoPack.com)
Here it is again in case you missed it and are too lazy to click that link up there…
Mid-Point Hard Truths
OK, so the mid-point isn’t really reached until AFTER the Clemson series this weekend, but it seemed like an appropriate time to do some venting anyway.
The Pack’s conference opening 3 game sweep of Notre Dame seems like eons ago now. Not to mention that the perspective of time has taken some of the luster off of it. Considering no one expected much from ND to begin with, that’s saying something.
Notre Dame, the ONLY ACC team the Pack has managed to beat this year, have themselves managed to get swept twice more since that weekend (Duke and Wake) and they’ve notched only one conference win (VT). In their defense however, that’s one more win than the Pack has managed since then. And one fewer sweep, too.
So what I’m saying is….
a) The sweep of ND has been the season outlier thus far, and considering how bad they are that’s just sad.
b) Since then, the Pack has actually been worse than ND (and BC too). That’s even sadder.
Have pre-season rankings and chatter of return trips to Omaha (and even the mention of parades…holy hell!!!) been a distraction for the Pack from the task at hand? Maybe so, but that should no longer be a problem.
No longer ranked (what took so long?), and with a trip to Greensboro for the ACC tournament even in doubt currently, it’s time for this team to sack up.
And frankly, @Clemson isn’t the ideal place to get momentum started to say the least.
19-9 (8-3 ACC, 2nd Atlantic), Last 10: 7-3, Streak: Won 5
2013: 40-22 (18-12 ACC)
Wolfpack pitching had better pull it together quickly.
With a team BA of .300, Clemson is the best hitting club in the ACC. They also lead the league in HRs (18), slgpct (.440) and stolen bases (52); and are 2nd only to FSU in runs scored (196) and rpg (7.0).
Their big hitters (and they have several) are…
Steve Wilkerson (#17,Sr,2B) – .364 avg, 4HR, 15RBI, 23 runs scored, slgpct .659, 20K/10BB, 4/5 SB
Tyler Slaton (#18,Jr,CF) – .350 avg, 2HR, 19RBI, 25 runs scored, slgpct .467, 11K/13BB, 8/10 SB
Steven Duggar (#9,So,RF) – .324 avg, 22RBI, 21 runs scored, slgpct .448, 18K/12BB, 13/14 SB
Jay Baum (#13,Jr,3B/OF) – .323 avg, 16RBI, 18 runs scored, slgpct .455, 9K/5BB, 6/10 SB
Garrett Boulware (#30,Jr,C/DH) – .317 avg, 2HR, 22RBI, 22 runs scored, slgpct .452, 9K/16BB, 1/2 SB
Tyler Krieger (#3,So,SS) – .315 avg, 1HR, 18RBI, 27 runs scored, slgpct .414, 12K/10BB, 9/12 SB
Weston Wilson (#8,Fr,3B) – .313 avg, 2HR, 17RBI, 12 runs scored, slgpct .448, 17K/6BB, 2/3 SB
Chris Okey (#25,Fr,C/DH) – .263 avg, 3HR, 29RBI, 13 runs scored, slgpct .393, 19K/11BB, 1/2 SB
Tigger pitching is somewhat of an enigma, but it has certainly been shaky more often than not. With a team ERA of 4.12 (12th) and yielding over 5 runs per game (5.06, 12th), only Pitt and VT have been less reliable. They also have given up a league leading 13 HRs.
Having said that however, their against avg is better than one might expect (.244, 8th), and they do manage to strikeout their share of batters with nearly 9 per game (8.67, 3rd, only NCSU and UMd have been better).
*** I’m rewriting/editing/adding some info after the fact here. When I first wrote this preview, I had presumed that this weekend’s Sat-Mon schedule would have Rodon facing Clemson’s Daniel Gossett on Saturday. Most of the national pubs agreed with me.
Today, GoPack.com has published Rodon as the Sunday starter, and Gossett nowhere in sight.
Gossett is far and away Clemson’s best starter. He last worked last Friday vs Maryland. I can’t imagine he wouldn’t get a start this weekend (assuming he’s not hurt), but with a trip to UVa looming next weekend (Fri-Sun) for the Tiggs I would have expected him to go either Sat or Sun.
Complicating things for Clemson is the fact that they played only two vs Maryland last weekend, both on Friday (Matthew Crownover got the CG win for the Tiggs in the other game) and then got washed out the rest of the weekend.
So until proven otherwise, I’m currently going to presume that GoPack.com is correct, but that Gossett will get the Monday start for Clemson, which is currently listed as TBA.
(Who’s still awake??)
Sooooo….Clemson’s likely starters for the weekend (now edited):
Matthew Crownover (#44,So,LHP) – 5-2, 2.48 ERA, 36.1 IP, 1HR, 36K/7BB, against avg .280
Zack Erwin (#33,So,LHP) – 2-1, 4.68 ERA, 32.2 IP, 2HR, 27K/11BB, against avg .217
Daniel Gossett (#23,Jr,RHP) – 3-0, 2.25 ERA, 44.0 IP, 4HR, 46K/15BB, against avg .193
If for some reason Gossett doesn’t go Monday, it’ll probably be Jake Long…
Jake Long (#39,Jr,RHP) – 2-0, 4.06 ERA, 31.0 IP, 0HR, 23K/17BB, against avg. .220
Defensively, Clemson is bottom of the heap, tied with Pitt for last in the conference (.960 fldpct).
Elsewhere in the ACC this weekend
- Carolina @ BC
- Miami @ VT
- UMd @ WF
- ND @ FSU
- Duke @ GT
- UVa @ Pitt
Games Schedule – Probable Starters – TV
***Real TV for all games this weekend….Woo Hoo!!! (Who needs the F4???)
- Sat 4/5, 1pm – Andrew Woeck vs Matthew Crownover – RSN
- Sun 4/6, 3pm – Carlos Rodon vs Zack Erwin – ESPNU
- Mon 4/7, 7pm – Ryan Williamson vs Daniel Gossett(?) – ESPNU
Among the bellyaching about the Pack9’s inauspicious start thus far in ’14, there has been a smattering of mojo talk in the form of ‘Jobu’. Personally, I think someone (Avent?) must have taken Jobu’s rum. If he takes a bat to the head, then we’ll know for sure.
It’s very bad….