A three game set at Florida State is all that remains in the regular season for the Wolfpack Nine (36-16 Overall, 17-9 ACC). This should be an interesting measurement of where the squad currently stands. As some may recall, we played the bulk of the ACC’s top squads early in the season, which was BEFORE the bats heated up. Now we get a chance to see how the revamped offense fares against one of the top teams in the country, let alone the league. I would guess these games could turn into slugfests, although everytime I prognosticate that the game ends up being a 2-1 pitchers duel (fine by me, as an ex-pitching coach I love ’em). As of this post, Eric Surkamp will take the ball in game 1 tonight, facing FSU’s Matt Fairel (9-1, 2.84). For those in the Florida area, you can catch these games on Sunsports; I’ll try to post observations periodically provided there is interest.
As far as conference tourney seeding goes, this series isn’t particularly important. A cursory glance at the standings would seem to indicate we are locked into the 4th seed. Because of the cancelled game against UNC, we are 4 games up in the loss column against both UVa and Georgia Tech (who meet one another in their respective final series). From a purely fun standpoint, another series to pay attention to is UNC versus Miami. If the unlikeliest of scenarios occur, NC State and Miami sweeps, we would tie UNC in the conference standings with 20-9 marks (no head to head tiebreaker, since we split two games). I’m sure the seed would go to UNC because of overall record (I looked for tiebreakers and gave up) but, at any rate, it would sure be nice to say we can “compete” with our Chapel Hill neighbors (that’s sarcasm folks!).
What is very important is to pick up a win to enhance our chances of hosting a regional. I would say 1 win puts in very good shape; at the very least we could host as a #2. Two wins on the road at FSU puts us in position to probably host as a #1, although I’m sure there’s always a chance things could go awry based on what other teams do. An unlikely sweep of FSU is virtual lock status for a regional #1 host, and if things break the right way (let’s say an ACC tourney win), we would be on the cusp of attaining an upper-half national seed. But, I’m getting way ahead here. Focus on FSU, and keep hitting the ball Pack!
Pregame: Rain delay in Tallahassee, should get to baseball around 7:30- or so they say on the Devil Rays postgame report. It will be interesting to see what the field conditions look like, and whether it will impact the pitchers. FSU announcers mention there is a strong case to be made for the ‘Pack to host a regional– let’s hope they are right.
Top 1: Good Guys get on the board first as Marcus Jones picks up an RBI single. Pond missed extra bases by an eyelash in the inning, and ended up flying out. 1-0 Wolfpack after half an inning.
Bottom 1: Surkamp allows a lead-off double, throws a bouncer and walks the 2 hitter to bring up Buster Posey– arguably the best hitter in the country– with runners at the corners and no outs. Surkamp picks the runner of first, gets an RBI groundout and then a flyout. FSU ties it up, but it could have been worse. 1-1 going into the second.
Top 2: The ‘Pack juices the bases with 2 out, and Matt Payne comes through with a 2-run single up the middle. The Wolfpack take a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the second.
Bottom 2: Surkamp gives up a 2 out walk, then comes back with a strikeout to set down the Seminoles. Heading to the Top of inning 3, it’s 3-1 Wolfpack. Now it’s time to build on that lead.
3rd Inning: Both pitchers have settled in, 6 up and 6 down. Still 3-1 headed to the 4th inning.
5th Inning: Did I say slugfest before? Both pitchers are very sharp now. Headed to the 6th inning, it’s still 3-1 Wolfpack.
Top 7: FSU plated a run in the 6th to cut the lead to 3-2. The ‘Pack bats woke up in the top of the 7th, 2 runs have crossed the plate and FSU goes to the bullpen. Fairel came out after taking an absolute missle off his thigh; the ball ended up in short right field. After missing on a double down the first baseline in the first, Pond fond the third baseline more to his liking. It’s 5-2 State, 1 on and 1 out.
Stretch Time!: State plates 4 runs in the Top of the 7th,, capped off by a 2-run pinch-hit single by Dallas Poulk. Headed into the last half of the frame, the Wolfpack has a 7-2 lead.
Headed to the 9th: Brown does his job, and the ‘Pack has a 7-2 lead as we move into the ninth inning. So far the Wolfpack has outhit the Seminoles 12-3. I never would have seen that one coming. Keep it up!!
BALLGAME!: The ‘Pack looks strong with a 12-2 drubbing of Florida State. Surkamp was sensational on the mound and Marcus Jones was amongst the offensive stars. Great way to start the series, knowing 1 win was a must to keep regional hosting a possibility. The pressure should be off in the next two games. Not that I’m superstitious or anything, but maybe I should do this tomorrow?