NC State Baseball To Open ACC Season At Miami
March 2, 2005
RALEIGH, N.C. - The NC State baseball team will begin the Atlantic Coast Conference season this weekend with a three-game series against Miami at Mark light field in Coral Gables, Fla.
The trip to Coral Gables will be a return to the site where NC State's last two baseball seasons ended, in the 2003 Super Regionals and the 2004 Regionals, and will mark the first-ever ACC series for Miami, which joined the conference for the 2004-05 school year.
NC State will carry a 10-2 record into the series, including seven wins in the last eight games. Miami, which defeated the Florida Marlins 9-7 in an exhibition game on Monday, is 10-3 heading into a game Wednesday vs. Northeastern.
THE STARTING PITCHERS: Senior righthander Phil Davidson (1-1, 2.84) will start the first game of the series for the Wolfpack. Davidson has made four starts this season, working 19 innings and allowing 12 runs, six earned, on 24 hits. He has walked five and struck out a staff-high 14. In his last start, February 25 at The Citadel in the Homewood Suites Shootout, Davidson was lifted with one out, one run in, and a runner on third in the bottom of the fifth inning. Reliever Jason Duncan stranded the runner on third base, but Davidson did not figure in the decision.
Sophomore righthander Jeff Stallings (2-1, 5.50) will start on Saturday in the second game of the series. Stallings has made four appearances, three of them starts, and has worked 18 innings. He has allowed 11 runs on 18 hits, walked seven and struck out 13. In his last start, February 26 vs. East Carolina in the Homewood Suites Shootout in Charleston, S.C., Stallings was roughed up for six runs on five hits in four innings. He walked three and struck out three.
Sophomore righthander Gib Hobson (3-0, 3.86) will start for the Wolfpack on Sunday in the series finale. Hobson has made four appearances, all starts, and has allowed eight runs on 22 hits in 18 2/3 innings. He has walked one and struck out 12. In his last start, March1 vs. UNC Greensboro, Hobson worked five strong innings, allowing one run on five hits. He struck out two and did not walk a batter. Hobson has now pitched 14 2/3 innings and faced 65 consecutive batters without issuing a walk.
NC STATE VS. MIAMI: NC State trails the overall series with Miami 4-11, and has seen its season end at Mark Light Field each of the last two seasons in NCAA postseason play. The Wolfpack has lost all five postseason games it has played with the Hurricanes, all of them in Coral Gables, including NCAA Regional losses in 1990, 1992 and 2004, and Super Regional losses in 2003.
In regular-season play, Miami holds a 6-4 advantage in the series. The two teams last met in 2000 in North Carolina's research Triangle region, playing one game at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in durham and two at NC State's Doak Field. The Canes won the game in Durham 12-0 and took the first game at the Doak 19-1. The Wolfpack averted the sweep with a 5-4 victory in the series finale at oak field. A year earlier, the two teams met in Coral Gables, with Miami taking two of three. UM won the first game 7-4, the Wolfpack won the second game 13-9, and the Hurricanes took the finale 7-6.
RECRUITING SOUTH FLORIDA: Everyone knows that NC State football coach Chuck Amato recruits the Miami area heavily. Well, football is not the only Wolfpack sport that recruits south Florida. The baseball roster currently includes five native Floridians, four from the metro Miami area. Starting shortstop Jonathan Diaz and reserve infielder Ramon Corona both are from the Coral Gables area. Diaz played his high school baseball at Coral Gables High School, while Corona played at Gulliver Prep. In addition, center fielder Brian Aragon, a transfer from Florida International, hails from Miami and attended Florida Christian High School. Righthander pitcher Kyle Rutter is from Miami and attended Palmer Trinity High School.
LAST WEEK: Sophomore first baseman Aaron Bates doubled twice and drove in four runs to lead a 13-hit attack as NC State defeated UNC Greensboro 10-1 Tuesday at Doak Field. The victory, the Wolfpack's seventh in the last eight games, lifted the Pack to 11-2 on the season. Sophomore righthander Gib Hobson (3-0) started and got the win for NC State after allowing just one run on five hits in five strong innings of work. He struck out two and did not issue a walk. Bates went 2-for-4 for the Wolfpack. Chris Engle had three singles, drove in a run and scored twice in five at-bats, and Brian Aragon, Ramon Corona and Matt Devine had two hits apiece for NC State.
Last weekend, NC State had its season-best six-game winning streak snapped by East Carolina in the Homewood Suites Shootout in Charleston, S.C. The Pirates laid a 13-1 whipping on the Wolfpack, which averted being shut out on Jake Muyco's RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Wolfpack opened action in the Homewood Suites Shootout last Friday with a 10-3 victory over The Citadel, which hosted the three-day tournament. Four NC State pitchers scattered seven hits, and Bates, Devine and Engle had three hits apiece. Engle and Mike Jensen hit home runs, marking just the second time in 2005 that NC State has hit two home runs or more in a game.
THROWING STRIKES: A year ago, the NC State pitching staff set a school record with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.8:1. In 107 innings thus far this season, the Wolfpack has walked 32 and fanned 72, an average of 2.7 walks and 6.1 strikeouts per game. The K:BB ratio comes to a 2.3:1.
DO NOT WALK: Wolfpack pitching coach Chris Roberts hates walks, and his pitchers do their best to avoid bases on balls. Wolfpack pitchers have walked three or fewer nine times in 12 games thus far this season, and two or fewer six times.
Sophomore righthander Gib Hobson has been especially careful with the strike zone, walking just one batter in 18 2/3 innings. Entering play vs. Miami this weekend, Hobson has worked 14 2/3 innings and faced 65 consecutive hitters without issuing a walk.
15 RUNS: NC State opened the 2005 season by sweeping Delaware State, pounding the Hornets 18-3 and 15-1 in the first two games of the series. A year ago, the Pack scored 15 runs or more in a game twice all season. This year, the Wolfpack did it twice in the first two games.
In scoring 33 runs in those two games, NC State scored eight runs in an inning twice. The Wolfpack scored eight in the sixth inning of the opener on February 4, and eight more in the third inning the next day. That surpasses the number of eight-run innings the team managed a year ago: one, March 2 vs. Le Moyne. (The Wolfpack added a seven-run sixth inning February 20 vs. San Diego State, and a six-run frame March 1 vs. UNC Greensboro.) NC State scored eight runs or more in an entire game only 15 times in 60 games in 2004. The Pack did it twice in an inning in the first two games of 2005, and has scored at least eight runs in a game nine times in 12 games.
10 HITS: During its recent six-game winning streak, NC State has rapped out 10 hits or more in all six games, and has had at least 10 hits in nine of its 12 games this season. The Wolfpack's longest stretch of 10-hit games a year ago was seven, from March 30 vs. Old Dominion through April 9 vs. Maryland.
STREAKS: Three NC State players enter play this week for the Wolfpack with active hitting streaks of five games or more, led by junior catcher Jake Muyco's nine-game hitting streak. Sophomore first baseman Aaron Bates has an eight-game hitting streak, and junior center fielder Brian Aragon has a five-game streak.
Muyco is hitting .353 (12-for-34) with three doubles and 10 RBIs during his streak. Bates is hitting .469 (15-for-32) with four doubles, two home runs and 13 RBIs during his hitting streak. Aragon is hitting .471 (8-for-17) during his five-game streak.
1-2-3 INNINGS: The NC State offense, averaging 8.5 runs per game through the first 12 games of the season, has consistently put pressure on opposing pitchers this season. The first Wolfpack hitter of an inning has reached base in 49 of 99 innings, and the Pack went on to score in 26 of those 49 innings.
Conversely, opposing pitchers have set the Wolfpack down in order, three-up and three-down, just 16 times in 12 games. NC State hitters have gone down in order just 10 times in the last 72 innings.
STRONG STARTERS: Starting pitching is always a huge key to the success of a team, and NC State's starters have been very good thus far in 2005. Through 12 games, NC State's starting pitchers were 6-2 with a 3.43 ERA. In 57 2/3 innings, they had allowed 31 runs, 22 earned runs, on 66 hits, while walking 15 and striking out 36.
OVERPOWERING: When the 2005 season began, junior righthander Joey Devine already was a two-time All-ACC selection, a 2003 All-American, a 2005 preseason All-American, and NC State's career saves leader with 24. Devine has lived up to that reputation so far in 2005. He has made five appearances, all scoreless, has allowed two hits in 6 2/3 innings, walked one and struck out 12. He is 3-for-3 in save opportunities.
For his career, Devine has allowed 82 hits and struck out 146 in 108 1/3 innings.