In the biggest series of the year, the 13th ranked Wolfpack heads to Tallahassee looking to prove they belong as they take on the #1 ranked Seminoles of Florida State.
The Wolfpack comes into the weekend having won five consecutive weekend series, while the ‘Noles dropped 2 of 3 against Clemson last weekend en route to losing their first weekend series of the 2012 season. Nonetheless, FSU still holds a four game lead in the ACC’s Atlantic division over the Pack and needs only a single win to clinch the #1 seed in next week’s ACC tournament over Coastal division leading Carolina. FSU boasts a 41-11 on the season (22-5).
State can do no better than the #3 seed for the ACC Tournament, similarly needing a single win to cement that position. The Pack is 37-13 overall, 18-9 ACC.
Game Times – Pitching Probables
- Thursday, 6pm – LHP Carlos Rodon (8-0, 1.41 ERA) vs RHP Scott Sitz (3-2, 3.91)
- Friday, 6pm – RHP Ethan Ogburn (4-2, 2.91) vs TBD
- Saturday, 1pm – RHP Anthony Tzamtzis (5-3, 2.91) vs TBD
Because they played a doubleheader against Clemson on Monday, FSU has not yet announced starters for games two and three. With the ACC Tournament looming, there is also a bit of gamesmanship involved no doubt, as FSU will likely now reshuffle its rotation to set up for the tournament, especially if Thursday’s results against the Pack (not to mention VT @ Carolina) are favorable.
With the regular season drawing to a close, all 12 ACC teams are in action within the conference this weekend (all games scheduled Thursday thru Saturday).
- NC State @ Florida State
- Virginia Tech @ N. Carolina
- Duke @ Boston College
- Clemson @ Wake Forest
- Virginia @ Maryland
- Miami @ Georgia Tech
Current ACC Baseball standings courtesy of theACC.com:
|(As Of May 16)|
Noting ACC Baseball: Thursday, May 17 (theACC.com)
BY THE NUMBERS
10 – ACC student-athletes named to the Capital One Academic All-District Baseball Teams (Clemson’s Phil Pohl, Duke’s Will Piwnica-Worms, Florida State’s Peter Miller and James Ramsey, Georgia Tech’s Sam Dove and Brandon Thomas, Maryland’s Brett Harman and Kyle Convissar, NC State’s Vance Williams and Wake Forest’s Evan Stephens)
11 – Eleven ACC teams have played schedules ranked among the 26 strongest nationally by independent analyst Warren Nolan, led by Miami (fourth-strongest).
30 – Nine ACC teams have now won at least 30 games, and Wake Forest needs one more win to reach that plateau. Top-ranked Florida State has reached the 40-win mark for the 35th straight year.
50 – NC State freshman Trea Turner is the third player in ACC history to steal at least 30 bases in a season. Turner, who has stolen 51 bases iin 50 games, joins North Carolina’s Brian Roberts (63 in 1998) and Georgia Tech’s Ty Griffin (50 in 1986) on the elite list.
College Baseball Bracketology
The Pack remains in strong position to host an NCAA Regional at Doak Field in Raleigh, with the opportunity for more. Perfectgame.org thinks the Pack might just ride Carlos Rodon’s arm to a national seed.
Current projections all have the Pack hosting a regional, but still knocking on the door for national seed status:
ESPN’s College Baseball Blog – SEC in play for four national seeds
PerfectGame.org – PG 64: Projecting the NCAA field
College Baseball Daily – 2012 NCAA Regional Projections (May 16th)
The N&O’s Caulton Tudor says Elliott Avent is ready to move on after suspension (newsobserver.com):
In the wake of a three-game suspension, N.C. State baseball coach Elliott Avent won’t be in Florida State’s stadium Thursday and Friday for the opening two games of a series between two of the top teams in the nation.
But Avent made the trip to Tallahassee with his players, will be in Dick Howser Stadium for Saturday’s final regular-season game and is as anxious as ever to see how his team responds to facing Baseball America’s No. 1 ranked team.
“They’re just a great team,” Avent said. “I don’t know that they have the most experienced group in the country but if not, they’re close.
The Wolfpack, ranked 13th nationally, is far younger and anchored by freshman pitcher Carlos Rodon. But before Sunday’s 6-4 loss at Virginia Tech, State (38-13, 18-9 ACC) was the nation’s hottest team with a 12-game win streak.
Chip Alexander says Avent can rest easy as NC State shortstop Diaz takes charge (newsobserver.com):
RALEIGH — N.C. State baseball coach Elliott Avent began a three-game suspension Tuesday as the Wolfpack faced UNC Greensboro.
Avent was edgy watching from his Doak Field office, but what he could see was soothing – junior shortstop Chris Diaz again taking charge.
Avent had little to say Tuesday about the suspension. But asked about Diaz, about the impact he has had on the Pack’s season, the words flowed freely.
“I’m not a big numbers guy and I don’t think Chris is either,” Avent said. “The thing Chris has been for us is the leader in everything we do. He’s been a model of consistency.
“He has maintained the quarterback position on the team. He has been to us this year what Derek Jeter has been to the New York Yankees for several years. He steadies your team. As he has steered the ship, we have kind of gone.”
Game One – Thursday
TOP(NCSU) - Trea Turner goes down swinging and Chris Diaz grounds out to first (3u)…Danny Canela draws a two out walk then Ryan Mathews flies out deep to right. No runs, no hits for the Pack, FSU coming to bat.
BOTTOM(FSU) - FSU’s Sherman Johnson flies out to left, Devon Travis grounds out to third and James Ramsey K’s looking. Scoreless after one.
TOP(NCSU) - Tarran Senay leads off with a solo shot over the right field wall…Jake Fincher grounds out to second, Andrew Ciencin grounds out to short…Brett Austin gets a two out single up the middle then Ratledge goes down swinging. Pack draws first blood on Senay’s homer, takes a 1-0 lead.
BOTTOM(FSU) - Rodon issues a lead off walk to Boyd, then another to McGee…Nogowski tries to drop a sac bunt but reaches on a fielder’s choice when the Pack manages to force Boyd at third (3-5 on the putout)…Delph K’s swinging, then Gonzalez draws a walk to load the bases with two down…Brizuela then doubles down the right field line scoring McGee and Nogowski and moving Gonzalez to third…Johnson reaches on a bunt single, scoring Gonzalez and moving Brizuela to third…Then the inning comes to a merciful end as Travis lines out to short. Free passes cost the Pack big as the ‘Noles score 3 runs on 2 hits in the inning, now lead 3-1 after two.
TOP(NCSU) - Turner flies out to center, Diaz grounds out to third, and Canela K’s swinging to sit the Pack in order. FSU still leads 3-1.
BOTTOM(FSU) - Ramsey flies out to center, then Boyd reaches and advances to second on Trea Turner’s throwing error (e5)…McGee draws a one out walk (after Rodon had him in an 0-2 hole), then Nogowski walks on 4 straight pitches…bases loaded with one away…passed ball scores Boyd from third, McGee to third, Nogowski to second…Delph and Gonzalez both go down looking to end it, but not before the Pack hands the ‘Noles another run. One run on no hits in the inning, FSU now leads 4-1.
TOP(NCSU) - Ryan Mathews K’s swinging and Senay grounds out to first (3-1)…Jake Fincher gets a two out double to right center then Ciencin reaches after being hit by the pitch, and Brett Austin’s two out walk loads the bases for the Pack….FSU will make a pitching change with the righty Hunter Scantling entering to relieve Sitz….Ratledge K’s swinging. Pack still trails the Seminoles, 4-1.
BOTTOM(FSU) - Brizuela walks on four pitches to lead off for FSU, then yet another walk (7 on the night so far) is issued to Johnson to give the ‘Noles first and second with none away…the bunt attempt by Travis is caught by Ciencin in the air for the first out…a base hit by Ramsey advances Brizuela to third but he is gunned down at the plate trying to score, Johnson advances to third on the play (1st and 3rd, two away)…Ramsey steals second, then Boyd walks to load the bases again….McGee then grounds out to second to end it. Still 4-1 FSU.
TOP(NCSU) - Trea Turner leads off with a bunt single, then a throwing error (e6) on the Diaz ground ball allows Turner to reach third and Diaz to reach second…Canela’s base hit scores Turner and moves Diaz to third…Then Ryan Mathews launches a 3 run shot to give the Pack the lead 5-4 (still none away)…Senay K’s looking, Fincher flies out to right and Ciencin flies out to left to end it. But the Pack picks up four runs on three hits to retake the lead over FSU, 5-4.
BOTTOM(FSU) - Nogowski and Delph both fly out to left, Gonzalez K’s swinging. FSU goes quietly for once, Pack still leads 5-4 after five complete.
TOP(NCSU) - Brett Austin draws a leadoff walk and advances to second on the sac bunt by Logan Ratledge…Trea Turner draws a walk to give the Pack 1st and 2nd with one away then Chris Diaz grounds into the double play (5-4-3). Pack still leads 5-4 after five and a half.
BOTTOM(FSU) - Another four pitch leadoff walk, this one to the #9 hitter Brizuela…Johnson grounds into the double play (6-4-3), Travis flies out to center. Still 5-4 Wolfpack.
TOP(NCSU) - LHP Kyle Bird on in relief for FSU…Canela flies out to left center, then Ryan Mathews draws a one out walk…Senay flies out to deep right center, then Jake Fincher singles to left moving Mathews to second…Andrew Ciencin gets hit by the pitch to load the bases with 2 down…Brett Austin’s bloop to right scores Mathews and Fincher, moves Ciencin to third….FSU will call to the bullpen, Bird will be relieved by LHP Holtmann….Ratledge draws the two out walk to re-load the bases then Trea Turner gets a base hit up the middle to score Ciencin and Austin, Ratledge moves over to second…Double steal (Ratledge to third, Turner to second – 52 on the year for Turner) then Diaz K’s swinging. Pack picks up four more, now leads 9-4 going to the stretch.
BOTTOM(FSU) - Ramsey K’s looking to lead off….Pack will make a pitching change as RHP Ryan Wilkins comes on in relief of Rodon….Boyd gets a double to right then advances to third on a wild pitch…Boyd scores on the ground ball by McGee, McGee reaches on a throwing error (e5)…Nogowski grounds into a double play to end the rally (6-4-3), but FSU picks up one to trim the Pack’s lead to 9-5.
Line on Rodon today: 6.1 IP, 4 runs (3 earned) on 3 hits, 6 K’s, 9 BB
TOP(NCSU) - LHP Brandon Johnson on for FSU…Canela blasts one off the wall to right but is thrown out trying to stretch it to a double (9-6 on the putout)…Ryan Mathews goes deep the other way for a solo shot, 2nd HR of the night…Senay lines out to second, Fincher K’s looking. Pack picks up one on two hits, now leads 10-5.
BOTTOM(FSU) - Delph reaches on an error (e4) to lead off…Gonzalez K’s swinging, Brizuela fouls out to right, and Johnson flies out to center. Pack still leads 10-5 going to the ninth.
TOP(NCSU) - Ciencin grounds out to short, Austin reaches on an error (e4) but is forced on the Ratledge double play ball. Nothing for the Pack, but they still lead 10-5. Big hitters due up for FSU in the bottom of the 9th (#2 Travis, #3 Ramsey, #4 Boyd).
BOTTOM(FSU) - Travis lines out to short and Ramsey flies out to short…Boyd singles up the middle with two down, then McGee flies out to center to end it.
Pack wins the opener in Tallahassee, 10-5.
Post Game One
Control around the strike zone has been an issue for Wolfpack pitching recently. Fortunately, other than what we gave them, FSU did little else. That’s in big part due to the fact that when the pitching has been able to find the plate, they’ve been overpowering. Especially Rodon, who got his 9th win tonight. Wilkins a huge effort in relief.
Not to mention that the offense keeps finding ways to punish opposing pitching. Ryan Mathews has been huge, of course. Two more HR tonight gives him sole possession of 3rd in the ACC, 4 more RBI and his hitting streak is now at 19 games. Turner, Canela, Fincher and Austin also had multi hit nights. Chris Diaz had the rare (for him) O-fer…but still managed to get aboard and score a run.
Once again, Pack finds a way to win.
Game One Media Coverage
GoPack.com – Long Ball Lifts Pack Over No. 1 Florida State
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – No. 13 NC State fought back from a three-run deficit to upend top-ranked Florida State 10-5 behind a pair of home runs from Ryan Mathews Thursday night at Dick Howser Stadium.
The Wolfpack (38-13, 19-9 ACC) trailed 4-1 through four innings after Florida State (41-12, 22-6 ACC) put three runs on the board in the second, and added one in the third. The Pack clawed its way to the lead with a four-run fifth on Mathews’s three-run bomb to center. In the seventh, State ripped the game open with another four-run inning to grab a 9-4 advantage. Both teams scored once more to make the final score 10-5.
Seminoles.com – FSU Falls To NC State
newsobserver.com – a round up of Thursday’s results for area schools.
And some miscellaneous links I ran out of time to post earlier…
Tallahassee.com – Big final series for No. 1 Florida State baseball
And we might as well go ahead and throw this out there… ACC baseball tournament picture – (news-record.com)
If the tournament started today…
Division A: Florida State, Virginia, Clemson, Virginia Tech
Division B: North Carolina, N.C. State, Miami, Georgia Tech
I’ll link whatever else pops up overnight, but wanted to link this at the bottom so as many folks see it as possible. Pretty cool story/video from wralsportsfan.com – NC State baseball finds inspiration in young fan
Harrison McKinion is 10 years old and he loves Wolfpack baseball. Nine innings at Doak Field are the perfect escape for McKinnon – who hasn’t had the best year.
“Being out here with these guys, it’s so much fun for him and encourages him a lot,” said Harrison’s father, Steve. “It was Dec. 9; he was a little pale and had some pain in his legs. He wasn’t feeling real well. They told us he had leukemia.”
Tallahassee.com – No. 1 Florida State falls to N.C. State in series opener