March 31, 2011
Game notes (PDF)
RALEIGH, N.C. — NC State heads back into Atlantic Coast Conference action this weekend with a three-game series vs. Wake Forest at Doak Field at Dail Park. Game times are set for 6:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 1 p.m. on Sunday.
All three games will be broadcast live on WKNC-FM (88.1) and will be available on-line with videostreaming on GoPack.com’s All-Access package. Live stats will be available on Gametracker. Just click the Gametracker icon on the baseball schedule page on GoPack.com.
NC State, which defeated 15th-ranked Clemson two out of three games a week ago, has won five of its last six games and is 15-11 overall, 3-6 in the ACC. Wake Forest is 9-15 overall and 3-6 in the conference.
NC State vs. Wake Forest
NC State and Wake Forest have played one another 245 times in baseball, which is the third-most games the Wolfpack has played against any school, trailing only North Caroina (274) and Duke (266).
The Pack leads the overall series with the Deacons 138-103-4. NC State is 25-20 vs. Wake Forest since Elliott Avent became head coach in 1997. Avent is 12-6 vs. Wake Forest at Doak Field at Dail Park, 13-10 in Winston-Salem, including a 9-8 mark at the old Gene Hooks Stadium and 4-2 at the Wake Forest Baseball Stadium.
NC State won last year’s series at the Wake Forest Baseball Stadium, two games to one. It was the second time in as many years that the two teams played an entire series at the old Ernie Shore Field, and the seventh, eighth and ninth games between the two teams at the old minor league stadium.
NC State won the opener 17-6 behind a balanced offensive attack and seven workmanlike innings from Jake Buchanan, who allowed six runs on nine hits. Terran Senay went 4-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs, and Drew Poulk and Danny Canela drove in three runs apiece. The Wolfpack scored four runs in the top of the fifth inning to win the second game 5-3. Cory Mazzoni allowed three runs in seven innings, and Drew Poulk hit a two-run homer to highlight the four-run fifth inning. Wake Forest won the final game of the series 4-3 in 10 innings.
NC State has not lost a season series to Wake Forest since 2002 and is 17-7 vs. the Deacons the last eight years. The Wolfpack has won eight of the last 10 games played between the two schools overall, and seven of the last eight played in Raleigh.
The Starting Rotation
NC State will send junior righthander Cory Mazzoni (2-2, 2.59) to the mound to pitch the series opener Friday evening. Sophomore righthander Danny Healey (1-3, 6.53) will start the middle game of the series Saturday for the Wolfpack. NC State’s pitcher for Sunday’s finale is still to be determined.
Mazzoni, a righthander from Evans City, Pa., has been outstanding this season and has gotten better and better with each start. After giving up a three-run home run in each of his first two starts, Mazzoni has rolled ever since, posting a 1.27 ERA in his last four starts.
Mazzoni tossed a complete-game four-hit shutout against No. 15 Clemson on March 25, retiring 16 in a row at one point and 20 of 21. He set a career high for strikeouts in an ACC game against the Tigers by fanning 10.
A week earlier at No. 21 Georgia Tech, Mazzoni worked 5 1/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season, but held the hard-hitting Yellow Jackets to two earned runs on eight hits.
Mazzoni struck out a career-high 13 with no walks in seven innings March 4 vs. Penn State. On March 11 at Duke, Mazzoni allowed three runs, but only one earned run, on six hits in seven innings, and retired 16 of the last 20 men he faced.
A righthander from Cooper City, Fla., Healey was remarkably consistent for NC State in his first three appearances, allowing no more than three hits and pitching at least five innings in all three.
Healey allowed one run on two hits in five innings Feb. 20 vs. Elon, but got no decision in a 4-2 loss. He followed that by limiting then-No. 17 Coastal Carolina to two runs on two hits in seven innings Feb. 27 in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and this time got credit for NC State’s 12-3 victory.
On March 6 in the first game of a doubleheader vs. Penn State, Healey worked 6 1/3 innings and allowed just one run on three hits, but again got no decision for an outstanding performance. A week ago vs. Clemson, Healey started and worked four-plus innings, allowing five runs, three earned, on five hits.
Who’s Hot For The Wolfpack
The NC State offense began to heat up last week-plus as the Wolfpack won five of six games dating back to March 22 vs. Northwestern, the team’s best stretch of the 2011 season. Several players swung the bat well over that time.
• Following a very slow start, Matt Bergquist is hitting .412 (7-for-17) with four doubles, seven runs scored and five RBIs the last six games.
• Pratt Maynard, who has hit consistently all season, is hitting .400 (8-for-20) and has scored six runs in the last six games, and .361 (13-for-36) his last 10 games.
• John Gianis is hitting .357 (10-for-28) in his last seven games.
• Andrew Ciencin, who also got off to an uncharacteristically slow start, is hitting .333 (8-for-24) with a double, two home runs, six runs scored and seven RBIs the last six ballgames.
Maynard On Eight-Game Hitting Streak
Pratt Maynard enters this weekend’s series vs. Wake Forest on an eight-game hitting streak, the second-longest streak by an NC State hitter this season. Maynard is batting .370 (10-for-27) with a home run, nine walks, six runs scored and three RBIs during the streak.
Maynard’s streak began March 19 at Georgia Tech with a 1-for-3 performance. He has had two multiple-hit games in the streak: March 23 vs. Northwestern (2-for-4) and March 29 at UNC Greensboro (2-for-5). Maynard has hit safely in 15 of his last 18 games and is batting .348 (23-for-66) in that time.
Mazzoni Dominating Early
With a 2-2 record and a 2.59 ERA in six starts, junior righthander Cory Mazzoni has been outstanding in 2011. He has been especially stingy in the early innings. He has not allowed a run this season in the first, third, fourth and fifth innings.
Mazzoni has faced 22 batters in the first inning this season and has retired 18 of them. He has set down 18 of the 23 men he has faced in the third inning of his starts. Mazzoni’s most dominant inning has been the fourth — he has faced 20 batters in the fourth inning this season and retired 18 of them. He has set down 17 of the 23 batters he has faced in the fifth inning.
The anomoly in all this for Mazzoni has been the second inning. He has allowed 16 total runs and 12 earned runs all season, and allowed nine of those total runs and seven of the earned runs in the second inning, six of them on a pair of three-run homers.
Sandwiched around the second inning, however, are the first, third, fourth and fifth innings, and Mazzoni has set down 71 of the 88 men he’s faced in those innings without allowing a run. Opponents’ on-base percentage in those innings is .193.
Strong Relief For The Wolfpack
Pitching has been NC State’s strongest and longest suit so far in 2011, with a staff ERA of 4.28 through 227 innings. The bullpen has been especially stingy, posting a 9-2 record with a 3.53 ERA and four saves through 99 1/3 innings.
Grant Sasser, Nick Rice and Brandon Price have made 23 combined appearances, worked 27 1/3 innings, and have allowed four earned runs between them for a combined ERA of 1.32.
Four NC State relievers have ERAs of 2.57 or lower — Sasser (1.17), Price (1.29), Rice (1.80) and Ethan Ogburn (2.57).
In three of his last four appearances, Price has inherited bases-loaded jams and not allowed an inherited runner to score. Price has inherited 12 baserunners from previous pitchers and has stranded 10 of them.
Lefthander D.J. Thomas has stranded all six inherited runners.
A Nice Week-Plus For The Bullpen
Speaking of the NC State bullpen, one of the reasons the Wolfpack has won five of its last six games has been excellent work out of the pen, which is 3-0 with a 1.48 ERA and two saves in the six games. Chris Overman, Rob Chamra and Ethan Ogburn each picked up a win in relief, and Overman and Grant Sasser notched saves in that time.
Overman pitched twice during the six-game span, and retired 16 of the 17 men he faced in 5 1/3 innings of work, including a perfect 1 2/3 innings March 26 vs. Clemson for his first college save.
Chamra got the win in the March 26 Clemson game, working five hitless innings before a one-out single in the eighth inning knocked him out of the game in favor of Overman, who slammed the door.
Vance Williams worked 2 2/3 scoreless innings March 27 vs. Clemson, and now has allowed just six runs, five earned, on 15 hits in 25 innings dating back to last year’s NCAA Myrtle Beach Regional, a 1.80 ERA.
Ethan Ogburn got the win in the second game of the two-game Northwestern series, allowing just one run on three hits in four innings.
A Nice Week-Plus For The Starters As Well
While the NC State bullpen was outstanding the last six games, the starting pitchers also have been excellent, posting a 2-1 record with a 2.73 ERA in 29 2/3 innings. In particular, starts by Cory Mazzoni, Ethan Ogburn and Vance Williams were dominant.
Mazzoni tossed a complete-game four-hit shutout vs. Clemson on March 25, the first complete-game shutout by an NC State pitcher since Mike Rogers and Vern Sterry both shut out No. 1 Texas in a doubleheader on May 15, 2004, in Austin.
Ogburn carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning March 29 at UNC Greensboro and wound up allowing three hits in six shutout innings. Williams allowed one run, unearned, on four hits in 5 1/3 innings March 22 vs. Northwestern.
Overman Emerging As A Force Out Of The Pen
NC State’s bullpen has a 3.53 ERA through the first 26 games, and sophomore righthander Chris Overman is a big part of that bullpen. Overman leads the pen in appearances with 10 and innings pitched with 18.
Overman is 4-0 with a 3.00 ERA and one save for the season. In his last six appearances heading into the Wake Forest series, Overman is 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA and a save, and has allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out 10 in 12 2/3 innings. After allowing four runs, three earned, in 2 1/3 innings on Feb. 19 at Elon in his first outing of the year, Overman is 4-0 with a 1.72 ERA in 15 2/3 innings over his last nine appearances.
Overman has gotten better as the season has progressed. In his last six appearances, he has retired 36 of the 43 men he has faced, allowing opponents a .163 on-base percentage. In two of those outings, March 15 vs. Buffalo and March 22 vs, Northwestern, Overman was dominant for an extended time.
In 4 2/3 innings against Buffalo, he allowed a solo homer to the first man he faced, then retired the final 14 batters of the game in order, including three strikeouts, to record his third win of the season.
In 3 2/3 innings vs. Northwestern, he allowed one hit in 3 2/3 shutout innings, retiring 10 of the 11 men he faced to pick up his fourth win of the season.
NC State’s game on March 29 vs. UNC Greensboro lasted two hours and 57 minutes, the 21st time in 26 games this season that the Wolfpack finished a game in less than three hours. NC State played 21 games in less than three hours a year ago, out of 62 games played.
Following this weekend’s series vs. Wake Forest, NC State will take on East Carolina on Wednesday evening at 6 o’clock at Doak Field at Dail Park.
Folowing the game with the Pirates, the Wolfpack will fly to Miami to take on the Hurricanes at Mark Light Field in Coral Gables, Fla., next weekend. Game times are 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 1 p.m. on Sunday.
As always, please visit GoPack.com regularly for full coverage of all NC State athletics news and events.