And so we come to the end of the regular season. Wolfpack Baseball needs to bounce back from “the humbling” given them at the hands of Florida State last weekend and get back down to brass tacks. And fast. So yeah, FSU came to town and took care of business taking 2 of 3 on [...]
With the doldrums of an early NCAA Tourney exit still fresh on the collective psyche of Wolfpack Nation, some NC State weekend baseball might be the ticket for unwinding some of us who have been wrapped a little too tight here just lately.
OK, maybe not.
Still, the Pack is coming off a series win on the road last weekend vs Wake Forest, followed by a tough “come from ahead” extra inning loss to UNC-G at home this past Tuesday. Basically treading water with Trea Turner still MIA, Carlos Rodon not exactly Rodon-ish up to this point, and a few other guys coming up short on the expectations radar (I’m looking at you Jernigan), State really needs to pop this thing into gear and start putting up some numbers.
The good news is that even without Turner (hopefully THAT won’t have to be said for much longer), we have the talent and experience to do it. The bad news is that on the road at UVa is a bad place to have to start.
The Cavs are a very good team. Possibly Omaha good. Seriously. Currently ranked #11, they should probably be higher. And their program is seasoned and used to winning. In the nine years since head coach Brian O’Connor took over at UVa the Cavs have never failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, have only failed to host a regional three times, and have visited Omaha twice (5th place ’09, 3rd place ’11).
Oh yeah, they’ve also won two conference championships too (’09, ’11).
19-2 (4-2 ACC, 3rd Coastal)
2012: 39-19-1 (18-12 ACC, 2nd Coastal); Hosted NCAA Charlottesville Regional (did not advance)
At The Plate
So I usually try to pick out the guys of the opposing team’s usual everyday lineup who are dangerous and give their highlights. Guess what? They’re all pretty dangerous, so this is gonna be short and to the point.
As a team UVa is hitting .312 (.481 slg%) and averaging 8.8 runs per game.
Leadoff man Branden Cogswell (#7, So, SS/2B/DH) does his job and does it well. He’s hitting .405 on the year and has the speed to go extra bases (5 doubles, 3 triples) giving him a slg% of .554 despite no HRs on the season. His on base % is .545 and he leads the team in runs scored (28).
Cleanup man Brandon Downes (#10, So, CF/DH) does his job too. He’s 2nd on the team in HRs (3) and is tied for 2nd in RBIs (21). He’s also scored 24 times (2nd) and leads the team in slg% at .593, including 6 doubles and 4 triples.
The Cavs have four other every day guys hitting above .300 in Joe McCarthy (#31, Fr, OF/1B), Jared King (#13, Sr, 1B), Derek Fisher (#23, So, LF/DH) and Nick Howard (#33, So, DH/3B/RHP). Those four guys have combined to knock in 67 runs, score 69 times and steal 15 bases. Howard also happens to be one of their best pitchers, so more on him later.
Kenny Towns (#18, So, DH/INF) and Nate Irving (#18, So, C) both hit just below .300 and oh yeah…Towns leads the team in HRs (4) and RBIs (25). (To my knowledge, Nate Irving is no relation)
And Reed Gragnani (#25, Sr, INF/OF/DH) is a quintessential utility guy and can be plugged in anywhere. He’s currently batting only .261, but has a slg% of .406 with 4 doubles and 3 triples. He’s coming off a season ending injury late in 2012 at which point he was hitting .362 so let’s hope he doesn’t rediscover that form quite yet.
Mike Papi (#38, So, OF/1B) is not an everyday guy, but he is hitting .417 with 11 RBIs in 36 ABs and is a dangerous pinch hitter (lefty), as is righty Colin Harrington (#14, Jr, OF) who is batting .583 with 5 RBIs in 12 ABs.
So yeah, the Cavs can hit.
In The Field
UVa pitching is just as good as their hitting. Maybe better. Their starters all generally go deep into games effectively and their bullpen is extremely good. As a team they boast an ERA of 2.27, opponents are batting only .238 against them, and they’re giving up only 2.9 runs per game (remember, they’re scoring 8.8).
That being said, two of the the three starters the Pack is likely to face this weekend did have shaky outings their last time out however, so they aren’t exactly invincible. Those three guys are:
Brandon Waddell (#20, Fr, LHP) – (2-0, 2.48 ERA) – Last start he took a no decision in a win vs Clemson going 6.1 innings and giving up 5 runs (4 earned) on 8 hits with 8 Ks and 2 BBs.
Scott Silverstein (#29, Sr, LHP) – (3-0, 3.25 ERA) – Last start he took a no decision in a loss vs Clemson going only 3.1 innings and giving up 6 runs (5 earned) on 7 hits with 3 Ks and 1 BB.
Nick Howard (#33, So, RHP) – (3-1, 1.27 ERA) – Last start he got the win vs Clemson going 6.1 innings giving up only 2 runs while scattering 7 hits. He K’d 3 and walked only 1.
Fortunately, the Pack will likely not face Trey Oest (#22, Fr, RHP) who just pitched this past Tuesday vs Yale, getting the victory (4-0) and giving up a single run in 6 innings of work, which ballooned his ERA all the way up to 1.23. I say “likely” because the way this so-called weekend series with UVa is scheduled, and the fact that UVa only has a single mid-week game next week, it’s not impossible he might make an appearance.
And I’m not going into details on UVa’s bullpen because it will only depress me. Did I mention they’re extremely good? ‘Nuff said.
Defensively the Cavs are extremely solid as well with only Nick Howard being a huge defensive liability with 8 errors in 40 chances (fld pct .800). How ’bout that…he’s human afterall.
UVa Baseball (VirginiaSports.com)
No. 11 Baseball Plays Host to NC State This Weekend (VirginiaSports.com)
UVa’s Davenport Field (VirginiaSports.com)
The games schedule for the weekend has had a last minute change…
The first two games will now both be played on Saturday as a double header. And once again, game three is MONDAY, and is on TV on ESPNU and will stream on ESPN3.
There will be NO SUNDAY GAME.
- Game One – Saturday 3/23 1pm
- Game Two – Saturday 3/23 4:30pm
- Game Three - Monday 3/25 7pm – TV ESPNU/ESPN3
|(As Of March 23)|
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