In their regular season home finale, Wolfpack Baseball took care of business against UNC-G Tuesday night at Doak Field in Raleigh, topping the Spartans 7-0. The win improved the Pack’s record to 37-13 on the season (25-4 at home). State now hits the road to Tallahassee for its final three games of the season against conference leading Florida State.
After having its 12 game winning streak snapped on Sunday against Virginia Tech, the Wolfpack made certain to avoid starting a losing streak against UNC-G, holding them to 3 hits in a combined shutout effort. Logan Jernigan started for the Pack, going 6.2 scoreless innings, giving up only one hit and striking out eight in the process. He runs his record to 5-1 on the season with the win. Ryan Wilkins struck out 2 as he worked a scoreless inning in relief, and in his first appearance of the season, Gary Gillheeny struck out 2 as well as he worked 1.1 scoreless innings to secure the win.
Offensively, the Pack wasted little time jumping on the scoreboard, scoring three in the first inning, including Ryan Mathews 11th homerun of the season. The two run shot extended Mathews’ hitting streak to 19 games. State would add another run in the 2nd, and three more in the 6th for the final margin. Trea Turner stole his 51st base of the season moving him into sole possession of 2nd place all time in the ACC. He was also caught stealing for only the third time this season. Chris Diaz continued his torrid pace going 3 for 5 and knocking in 2 RBI, while Danny Canela had 2 RBI of his own on a 2 for 3 night.
GoPack.com has the recap as State Blanks Greensboro 7-0
State leapt out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom first thanks to Mathews’s two-run homer. Turner led off the game by ripping a single by the UNCG third baseman playing in on the grass. Diaz followed with a double into the right field corner to put two in scoring position for Canela’s RBI groundout to the right side. With Diaz on third, Mathews pounced on a 1-2 pitch, sending it soaring over the wall in dead center for his 11th of the year.
The Pack added another in the second to make it 4-0. Logan Ratledge reached as the lead-off man on a throwing error by UNCG’s shortsop. Turner walked behind him to put two on and chase Boghosian from the game. Reliever Dominique Vattuone struck out the first batter he faced, but allowed Canela’s RBI single up the middle.
Three more Wolfpack runs came home in the sixth to extend the lead to 7-0. Brett Austin reached on an infield single as the lead off man. Jake Fincher’s sac bunt moved him over, and a wild pitch pushed him to third with two away. Turner walked and stole second to put two in scoring position, and Diaz plated them both on a single to center. Canela singled next to put runners on the corners, and back-to-back walks brought in the third run.
Elliott’s Excellent Vacation
NC State Head Baseball Coach Elliott Avent was suspended for three games Tuesday afternoon. The suspension stems from an altercation which occurred in Sunday’s Virginia Tech game in the bottom of the 6th inning. With the game tied and the bases loaded, a base hit scored two runs to give VT the lead, 6-4. While the first run scored easily on the play, there was a close play at the plate as the 2nd runner tried to score. When he was called safe at the plate, Avent went out to argue the call.
During the argument, Avent picked up Brett Austin’s mask and tossed it toward the Wolfpack dugout where the Wolfpack catcher was now located after being pulled away from the argument so as not to get himself tossed from the game. That’s when home plate umpire David Pritchett tossed Avent from the game. Avent then began arguing more vehemently (hey…if ya already got the heave, ya might as well stay and get yer money’s worth before hitting the showers, right?), at which time some degree of physical contact apparently occurred between Avent and Pritchett. NCAA rules prohibit any physical contact between umpires and players/coaches, and violation carries a mandatory three game suspension.
You can read more about coach Avent’s suspension from charlotteobserver.com:
“I accept the suspension,” said Avent in a news release by the school. “Our team has displayed character and consistency throughout this season and I am confident that this will not be a distraction from our goal of winning a championship. I look forward to being back in the dugout Saturday at Florida State.”
I hope Coach Avent is correct about the effects this will (not) have on the team as the suspension forces him to miss the first two games against FSU in Tallahassee on Thursday and Friday. Despite having a heavy freshman influence, this team seems anything but psychologically fragile, however, so I suspect it will have little if any effect. In Avent’s absence, Tom Holliday will still handle the pitching staff, while assistant Chris Hart will handle other matters (with strict orders from Avent, to be sure). Hopefully, the showing against UNC-G is an indication.
Rumor has it that Pritchett had a strip of white tape on his shoes with writing which read “KH”. (I’m kidding about that for those that are unsure)
On to Tallahassee (and Beyond)
The Wolfpack rolls into Tallahassee to face Florida State for the final three games of the regular season, beginning this Thursday at 6pm. Despite dropping two of three at Clemson this past weekend, the Seminoles are ranked #1 in two of the four major polls this week and are #2 in this week’s NCAA RPI. The series is arguably the biggest one of the season in the entire conference and comes at the perfect time for the Pack as they try to make their case for a national seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, giving them their biggest opportunity of the year to make some noise.
Moving up another single spot this week in the NCAA RPI, the Pack is now at #12. State moved up a slot or two in most of the other polls as well, with their highest ranking coming from Baseball America where they held steady this week at #13.
Links to complete poll results:
- NCAA RPI
- Baseball America
- USA Today/ESPN
- Collegiate Baseball
- National College Baseball Writers Assoc (NCBWA)