[UPDATE] – Pack 9 Tops Pioneers, Will Face Vandy.
Wolfpack Baseball flexed its offensive muscle Friday night, topping the Sacred Heart Pioneers 16-5 in the second game of the Raleigh Regional. It was the Pack’s 40th victory on the season (40-17). The Wolfpack moves on to face Vanderbilt, which downed UNC-W in the day’s first game at Doak field, 8-2.
Despite pulling away and winning by a comfortable margin in the end, the Pack’s fortunes didn’t appear to be terribly high at first when the Pioneers jumped out to a quick 2 run lead after the first half inning of play.
But the Pack wasted no time in their half of the first, claiming the lead for good after only three batters. First Trea Turner led off the game for the Pack with a double, then Chris Diaz followed him with a single of his own. Ryan Mathews’ 15th homer of the year, this one a 3 run shot, would give State the lead for good before they had even been put out once in the inning. They would add another run to take a 4-2 lead after the 1st.
Despite first inning control problems, including a walk and a hit batsman to begin the game (both of whom would come around to score), Vance Williams settled down quickly and kept the Pioneers in check for six innings. He would get the win (4-3), giving up 3 runs and scattering 5 hits. He walked only one and struck out eight on the night. Dillon Frye worked the rest of the way giving up 2 runs on 4 hits in three innings of work.
State would go on to pull away from the Pioneers, adding two runs in the 3rd and three more in the 4th, and would break the game open for good with a seven run outburst in the 6th. On the night, nine different Pack players would hit safely, while Andrew Ciencin (3 for 4, SB), Ryan Mathews (3 for 5, HR, 4RBI) and Trea Turner (2 for 5, 2B), all had multi-hit games.
In what can only be called an anomaly, there were seven stolen bases in the game, four by Pack baserunners, none of whom are named Turner. The Wolfpack’s 16 runs ties a club record for most runs in an NCAA postseason game (1975 vs. Citadel).
Saturday’s games are as follows:
- 2pm – Game Three (Loser’s Bracket) – (3)UNC-W vs. (4)Sacred Heart
- 7pm – Game Four (Winner’s Bracket) – (2)Vanderbilt vs. (1)NC State
LHP Carlos Rodon (9-0, 1.46 ERA) will take the hill for the Wolfpack, while Vanderbilt is scheduled to throw LHP Sam Selman (9-3, 3.33 ERA).
GoPack.com – Wolfpack Rolls Over Sacred Heart 16-5
Mathews went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored, his third four-RBI game of the year. Andrew Ciencin scored twice in a 3-for-4 game with a stolen base. Jake Fincher stole a pair of bases in the game, helping the Wolfpack to four swipes on the evening.
Trea Turner went 2-for-5 with two runs, scoring in the first inning for the 10th time in the Pack’s last 16 games. Brett Austin pushed three runs across with two sac flies and an RBI single.
Starter Vance Williams (4-3) scored the win on six innings of work, tying a career-high with eight strikeouts while allowing three earned on five hits. Dillon Frye (1) claimed his first career save on three innings, surrendering two earned on four hits.
Sacred Heart starter Troy Scribner ended up with the loss after eight runs, seven earned, in the first three innings.
NC State’s 16 runs matches the most ever scored by the Wolfpack in an NCAA postseason game, a record set in 1975 against The Citadel. Mathews’s homer gave the Pack 36 on the season, 24 of which have come at Doak Field at Dail Park.
VUCommodores.com – Dores race past UNCW, 8-2
RALEIGH, N.C. — Vanderbilt stole a season-best eight bases and used a stellar pitching performance to beat UNC-Wilmington 8-2 in the opening game of the NCAA Tournament Raleigh Regional Friday afternoon.
The Commodores (34-26) grabbed the lead in the third inning with a two-out rally. Mike Yastrzemski’s double to the left-center field gap ignited the rally before Anthony Gomez lifted a flair to center field that dropped in to score Yastrzemski for the first run of the game. Conrad Gregor lined a single into right field with Seahawks’ right fielder Tyler Molinaro coming up throwing to third base. The throw bounced off Gomez, who was sliding into third, and allowed him to score for a two-run Vandy lead.
The Dores blew the game open in the fourth, scoring four runs on one hit and stealing five bases in the frame.
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[ORIGINAL ENTRY] – Raleigh Regional Preview
Wolfpack Baseball hosts the 2012 NCAA Baseball Tournament’s Raleigh Regional beginning today. The first game is scheduled to get underway at 2pm and features the number two seeded Vanderbilt Commodores taking on the number three seed, the Seahawks from UNC-Wilmington. The Wolfpack faces the number four seeded Sacred Heart Pioneers in the nightcap, scheduled for 7pm.
Unlike the ACC Tournament which uses a pool play format, each of the NCAA regionals is a traditional four team double elimination tournament. The Raleigh Regional’s four team bracket is as follows:
Despite being a regional host school, State comes into the NCAA Tournament limping just a bit. After having their late season twelve game win streak snapped in their second game in Tallahassee, the Pack has won only one of their last five and are a bases loaded walk away from being on a 5 game skid at this point.
And as it so often seems fate would have it, unlike the Wolfpack, its three weekend guests have all been playing some of their best baseball of the season heading down the stretch toward the NCAA Tournament.
2012 Season – 25-30 (19-13 NEC, t3rd) – Won NEC Conference Championship, 3-0 in NEC Tourney (incl. Beating #1 seed Monmouth two straight) – All three wins were complete game efforts by starting pitcher (Scribner, Leiningen and Kerski), 8-2 last 10 games. RPI #212.
On the season, the Pioneers’ pitching has been anything but spectacular. They carry a 5.52 ERA and a .291 against avg. Their staff isn’t flashy, striking out fewer than 5 per game; but they are workhorses with 19 complete games on the season. Their top two starters (Scribner and Leiningen) went the distance in more than half (53%) of their combined starts, and the Pioneers’ top four starters threw more than two thirds (68%) of all innings on the year. As a staff, they don’t hurt themselves much with walks or HRs.
Offensively, not a great deal more impressive than their pitching. They bat .272 as a team. They don’t hit for power (only 10 HR on the season), they don’t walk much and they strike out a fair amount. They do run fairly well, however, with 71 stolen bases on the year.
Sacred Heart has its adventures in the field as well, with a team fielding % of only .955 and 92 errors on the year. Opponents have also stolen 82 bases in 109 attempts.
Sacred Heart Vitals
- Fairfield, CT
- Est. 1963
- Type: Private
- Enrollment: approx 6,000
- Northeast Conference (NEC)
- Mascot: Pioneers
- Colors: Red, Gray, Black
Famous alumni include Kevin Nealon of SNL fame, and Cliff Claven himself, John Ratzenberger.
2012 Season: 38-21 (24-6 CAA, 1st), Won CAA Conference Championship, 8-2 last 10. RPI #41.
Seahawks pitching is solid and can be overpowering at times. The UNC-W staff has a collective ERA of 3.39 and they hold opposing hitters to a .255 avg. They don’t give up a lot of homers (23) or walks (181), and get a lot of strikeouts (408) (more than 8 K/9ip for top starter Mat Batts).
UNC-W is a very good hitting club, both for average and power. They have a team batting average of .302 and have knocked 48 round trippers on the year. They run very well, having swiped 104 bases on the year. If they have a weakness, it’s discipline at the plate. They don’t walk a lot for a good hitting team, and they do strike out quite a bit.
Strong defensively, the Seahawks have a team fielding % of .972, with only 62 errors on the year. They’ve given up only 52 stolen bases to the opposition.
- Wilmington, NC
- Est. 1947
- Type: Public/State
- Enrollment: Approx 14,000
- Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)
- Mascot: Seahawks
- Colors: Teal, Gold, Blue
Famous Seahawk Alumni include everyone’s favorite college bball coach, John Calipari; and the psycho killer (one of them, anyway) from the original “Scream” and star of one of the best TV shows ever to get cancelled twice, Skeet Ulrich.
2012 Season: 33-26 (16-14 SEC, t5th), Lost in SEC Championship game, 9-1 last 10 (w/ wins over Florida(2), LSU(2), SCar and UGa in that stretch). RPI #21.
Vanderbilt’s pitching staff has been respectable with a 3.92 ERA, and a .253 against avg. They’ve yielded 27 homers and 239 walks on the year, but have also struck out 429 (7.3/game).
With a team average of .266, the Commodore’s offense hasn’t been overpowering most of the year. They do have occasional power (26 HR on the season), but also strike out quite a bit. With 78 stolen bases on the year, they are often a threat to run.
Vandy isn’t usually dazzling defensively (fielding % .966, 75 errors on the season), but they defend well on the basepaths giving up only 44 stolen bases.
- Nashville, TN
- Est. 1873
- Type: Private
- Enrollment: Approx. 12,500
- Southeast Conference (SEC)
- Mascot: Commodores
- Colors: Black, Gold
Some of Vanderbilt’s distinguished alumni include Jay Cutler, Roseanne Cash, Molly Sims, and my grandmother’s “Oprah”, Dinah Shore.
What To Expect
As already mentioned above, all three teams are playing their best ball right now and the Wolfpack is going to have its hands full this weekend. With the exception of Sacred Heart (which with all due respect to the Pioneers is probably over matched here…then again it is baseball) it would not be a surprise for any of the other three teams to emerge from Raleigh.
The Pack’s bats need to come alive and should hopefully be able to get some good chances to get back in a groove against Sacred Heart to open things up. With a little luck they can also avoid blowing the bullpen to get an opening win. If State can shake their recent slump and get back into a flow offensively, they should move on to face the Gainesville winner.
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Freshman LHP Carlos Rodon has been named a first team All-American by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. Junior SS Chris Diaz was a second team AA selection. Read more about it here.