Wolfpack Baseball (30-18, 14-12 ACC) bids adieu to Doak Field for another year this weekend as they wrap up the regular season at home by welcoming in the #3 team in the country, and the top team in the ACC, for three games this weekend beginning Thursday evening at 6pm.
NC State has been on a nice little run the past 3 weeks as they’ve won 9 of their last 10 games, including the last 9 straight. The late season surge has pushed State up the standings in the ACC and they currently sit at #4 in the ACC’s Atlantic division, #5 overall in conference, and their RPI is currently #36 in the country. The Pack would like nothing more than to keep that momentum headed in the right direction as the nation’s #3 team invades Raleigh.
But Louisville has their own momentum going, not to mention plenty of motivation to play their best despite having already locked up the #1 seed for next week’s ACC Baseball Tournament at the DBAP.
With an overall record of 40-13 (23-4 ACC), the Cards haven’t lost a series in the conference all year, and have lost only one series all season…but not since February. Winners of 7 of their last 10, Louisville has only dropped consecutive games just once this season.
But again…not since February.
Home or away hasn’t mattered to the ‘Ville either, as they sport a 17-7 record away from home (12-4 in true road games). They’re just a very solid ballclub and when they’re between the lines they bring it every night.
And even though they’ll be the top seed in Durham next week no matter what happens in Raleigh this weekend, the Cards are good enough that they are (rightfully) looking toward Omaha and a national title. As things stand now, they would almost be assured of one of the 8 national seeds, ensuring them home field advantage thru the regional and super regional rounds.
A series win this weekend on the road in Raleigh would nearly cement their status regardless of next week’s results in Durham. On the other hand, a series loss to the Pack would give them at least some doubt about their standing as the ACC Tourney gets underway.
For the Wolfpack, which currently owns the ACC’s 5th seed for next week’s tournament and is assured of qualifying for the ten team field regardless of this weekend’s series results, this weekend is an opportunity to not only improve their seeding in the ACC Tournament, but also to pad their resume for a possible NCAA Tournament berth. With a current RPI of #36 (our past opponents must have had a good coupla days since Monday) the Pack currently figures to receive a #3 seed somewhere, but with a good showing this weekend they could conceivably up their stock to a #2 .
But to do that, the Pack is going to have to continue scoring runs as they have for the past 3 weeks, and that’s going to be easier said than done.
Inside the Streak…and more
During the Pack’s current 9 game win streak they’ve outscored their opponents by an avg. of more than 4 runs per game.
Now admittedly, that’s a little misleading due to the 19-1 thumping put on the Deacs last Friday night. But even if you toss that game out, the Pack has still won by an avg. of 2.5 runs per game. In many of those games, the bats have been responsible as the Pack has put up 5 or more runs in 6/9 of those games. But the pitching hasn’t been too shabby either, with the Pack’s staff yielding 3 or fewer runs in 7/9 of the games in the streak.
On the season as a whole, offensively speaking, the Pack has a bit of an edge over Louisville. The Pack lineup bats at a .282 clip and has averaged scoring 6.14 runs per game. For comparison sake, Louisville’s team avg. is .279, but they have only scored an average of 5.55 runs per game for the season.
On the other hand, Louisville leads the conference in pitching, and it’s not even close. Their staff ERA is an impressive 2.66 with the next best in the league being 2.95. They also carry an against avg. of .207 .
But who’s 2nd in ERA in the conference??? Well, that distinction belongs to our very own Pack9 believe it or not.
The oft-maligned Wolfpack staff also carries a sub-3.00 ERA (the aforementioned 2.95). Among ACC staffs, only ‘Ville and NC State can say that. What’s more, the Pack is also 2nd in against avg….and this one IS pretty close. The Pack gives up base hits at only a .214 clip. So, what’s the difference?
Mistakes, pure and simple.
The Pack’s staff is league worst in hit batsmen with 65, and 3rd worst in both walks (210) and wild pitches (54). They also give up more than twice as many HRs as the Cardinal’s staff.
Defensively, the Pack is middle of the road this year (as is ‘Ville, btw), but the Pack’s boots seem to always come in bunches (though admittedly this is more just a feeling than anything I currently have hard numbers to support).
In any case, for the streak to continue the Pack is of course going to have to find a way to continue to score against Louisville’s very strong pitching staff. But even more than that, Wolfpack pitchers will need to be loose and not get bogged down by control issues. Runs will already be at a premium against Louisville, and we can’t afford to give them freebies.
If the Pack plays to their potential and tightens up the pitching control a bit, this should be a fun series.
ACC Tournament Seedings
- Louisville 23-4
- Miami 19-8
- FSU 17-10
- Notre Dame 15-12
- NC State 14-12
- Clemson 13-13
- Carolina 13-13
- Georgia Tech 13-14
- Virginia Tech 12-14
- Virginia 12-15
|Schools||Conf W-L-T||Conf PCT||W-L-T||PCT|
|Schools||Conf W-L-T||Conf PCT||W-L-T||PCT|
ACC Out Of Town Schedule (all series Thu thru Sat)
- Notre Dame at BC
- Wake at Duke
- UVa at Carolina
- Virginia Tech at Pitt
- Clemson at FSU
- GT at Miami
FWIW, we should all be fans of BC, UVa, Pitt and Miami this weekend. FSU/Clemson is a tougher call, but I’m leaning FSU even though we own the Clemson head to head tiebreaker.
Wake and Duke…take your pick.
Cards vs Pack Weekend Schedule
- Thursday, 5/14 – 6pm – ESPN3
- Friday, 5/15 – 6:30pm – ESPN3
- Saturday, 5/16 – 1pm – RSN*
* Yep, real TV for Saturday’s game on the RSNs. Click the link for specific channels.
Hats off to the Wolfpack Softball Team, which has earned NCAA Tourney bids in 3 consecutive seasons for the first time in EVER. Shawn Rychcik appears to be a keeper.
Wolfpack Softball earned a #2 seed and will open up NCAA Tournament play on Friday in Harrisonburg, Va. at 2pm vs #3 seed Fordham. Also in the Harrisonburg Regional is top seeded host James Madison, and #4 seed Binghamton.
NC State Softball Earns Third Consecutive NCAA Regional Selection (GoPack.com)
The Pack played Fordham earlier this season at home and earned a 5-0 win at Dail Stadium. The meeting was the first between the programs. State also played Binghamton at home this year, earning a 7-0 win against the Bearcats.The Wolfpack owns a 6-1 all-time record versus James Madison and the teams last played in the 2013 NCAA Tournament at the Knoxville (Tenn.) Regional where NC State won both meetings.
Best of luck to the Wolven Ladies!!!!
Carlos Rodon Update
By virtue of his damned fine inaugural MLB start and win this past Saturday night, Carlos Rodon made it such that the ChiSox just couldn’t banish him back to the bullpen. At least for the time-being, Carlos will be pitching regularly in the Sox rotation, with his next start scheduled for this Friday night in Oakland.
This appears to be the plan at least up to the All-Star break, though Rodon will likely get extra rest at times, at least until he acclimates more fully to the MLB grind….
White Sox push Carlos Rodon into rotation (ChicagoTribune.com)
The Sox initially used Rodon out of the bullpen in an effort to maximize his innings in his first full season out of college. Sox general manager Rick Hahn said they roughly mapped out Rodon’s schedule through the All-Star break to continue to try to manage his workload.
Rodon will have scheduled breaks along the way, such as being skipped in the rotation or receiving more than four days’ rest. Sox right-hander Hector Noesi, whom Rodon displaces in the rotation, will be available out of the bullpen but will make spot starts as well to help fill the gaps during Rodon’s breaks.
“(Rodon) knows that he will play an active role in communication to us what he is feeling and give us feedback based on what we are seeing from his outings,” Hahn said. “This is going to be a process. We are going to be open-minded and flexible. … That (schedule) could always change based on weather, effectiveness and any number of factors.”
And some highlights from this past weekend’s sweep of Wake….
Go Pack!!! Beat dat Cardinal Ass!!! (Do cardinals have asses? Yes…yes they do.)