NC State Baseball Welcomes Campbell Back To The Doak
April 13, 2004
RALEIGH, N.C. - NC State and Campbell will take care of some unfinished business from two months ago, then take on some new business in what amounts to an abbreviated doubleheader Wednesday night at Doak Field.
Beginning at 6 p.m., the Wolfpack and Camels will finish their game of February 14, which was suspended in the middle of the seventh inning with the Pack leading 5-1. Approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the suspended game, NC State (24-10) and Campbell (12-20) will play a nine-inning regularly scheduled game.
Senior righthander Derek McKee (1-1, 4.74) is pencilled in as the starter for the Wolfpack. He has not pitched since allowing six runs on four hits and four walks in 2 2/3 innings April 4 at Florida State, a 10-3 loss to the Seminoles. McKee, who is coming off shoulder surgery and missed all of the 2003 season while rehabilitating his shoulder, pitched well in his first three appearances, two of them starts, fashioning a 1-0 record and a 2.19 ERA in 12 1/3 innings. He has struggled in two outings since then, and will be looking to regain his early-season form with the start against the Camels.
The Wolfpack is at home for the first time since an 11-2 drubbing of Davidson on March 31. In seven games on the road since then, the Pack is 5-2, and has won four in a row. During the seven-game road swing, the Wolfpack offense scored 45 runs for an average of 6.4 runs per game. The Pack batted .292 during the seven games, with 15 doubles, two triples and three home runs.
NC State won on the road the way it has won all season, with outstanding pitching and defense. In the seven games, the pitching staff allowed 23 runs, 21 of them earned, on 51 hits in 63 2/3 innings. Wolfpack pitchers walked 29 and struck out 64 during, and the staff ERA was 2.97. During this past weekend's four-game trip to Old Dominion and Maryland, which NC State swept, the Pack allowed six runs on 25 hits in 36 innings. The Wolfpack walked 14 and struck out 31, with a staff ERA of 1.50.
Sophomore second baseman Matt Camp leads the Wolfpack with a .384 average, 36 runs scored and a .459 on-base percentage, but NC State's hottest hitter is probably Lee Mezistrano. The junior right fielder is hitting .346 with eight doubles, one triple, one home run and 25 RBIs for the season, but he is batting .356 (16-for-45) with five doubles, one homer and 17 RBIs in the last 11 games. He has locked down the third spot in the batting order and now is just three behind David Hicks for the team lead in runs batted in.
Campbell comes to Doak Field struggling. The Camels, who won eight of nine games in late February and early March, are 4-14 since then. They have lost five of their last six games.
Time Change: The posted start time for this Saturday's game against Wake Forest has been changed from 7 p.m. to 1 p.m. to accommodate Fox Sports South, which is televising the game as part of a national cable hookup. Please make a note of it.
The Suspended Game: In the second game of the season, the Wolfpack jumped on Campbell for all five runs in the bottom of the second inning on six hits, a sacrifice bunt, and a Campbell error. Matt Camp drove in two runs with a single to center field, and Dustin Knight, Jason St. Julien and Jake Muyco all drove in runs in the big inning for the Wolfpack.
Senior righthander Vern Sterry pitched the first six innings and dominated the Camels. Sterry allowed no runs and two hits, while walking none and striking out four. He allowed three baserunners (one of which reached on an error, so he really didn't allow that one so much as one of his teammates), none of whom reached scoring position. He retired the first three men he faced, 11 of the first 12, and 20 of 24 overall. He was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week for that performance, even though the game was not yet officially in the books.
Shutouts: When Vern Sterry shut out Maryland 3-0 on April 10, it was the third shutout by Wolfpack pitchers in six games, the first time since 1996 that an NC State pitching staff has hurled that many shutouts in that short a span of games, and only the sixth time since college baseball began using aluminum bats in 1973, and only the 11th time in the history of the program.
The school record for shutouts in a season is 10, set way back in 1909. That team once threw three shutouts in four games, and five shutouts in a span of nine games. The most remarkable run of shutout baseball by an NC State pitching staff, however, came in 1978. Facing opponents using aluminum bats, the '78 Wolfpack threw shutouts in four consecutive games, and five in a span of eight games.
Milestone: Lost in the rush of trying to schedule a doubleheader to avoid an oncoming rain storm, Vern Sterry's three-hit shutout of Maryland on April 10 was the 1800th victory in the history of NC State baseball. The Wolfpack now stands at 1801-1099.
Battery Failure: NC State's remarkable fielding percentage of .978 would be even higher were it not for some rather silly errors. Specifically, Wolfpack pitchers have committed nine errors this season, and Wolfpack catchers have been called for catcher's interference three times. That's 12 of 28 errors by the catchers and pitchers. Take those out of picture and NC State's fielding percentage is a sterling .985.