Game notes (PDF)
April 21, 2011
RALEIGH, N.C. — Playing its best baseball of the season, NC State will get the supreme test this weekend when the Wolfpack travels to Charlottesville, Va., to play the top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers.
Game times for the three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series are 7 p.m. on Friday, and 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. All three games will be broadcast live on WKNC-FM (88.1) and will be available on-line on GoPack.com’s All-Access package. Saturday’s game will be the ACC’s TV Game of the Week. Check your local listings.
Live stats will be available on Gametracker. Just click the Gametracker icon on the baseball schedule page on GoPack.com.
NC State enters the series on a five-game winning streak and having won 13 of 19 games following a 10-10 start to the season. The Wolfpack is 8-10 in ACC play. Virginia, on the other hand, is a virtually unheard-of 38-3 overall and 16-2 in the conference. The Cavaliers have won seven in a row and have winning streaks this season of six, 13, 12 and seven games.
NC State vs. Virginia — The Series
NC State leads the overall series with Virginia, 109-61-1. The Wolfpack is 35-18 vs. the Cavaliers since Elliott Avent became head coach in 1997.
Avent owns a 14-4 mark vs. Virginia at Doak Field at Dail Park, and 13-11 in Charlottesville. NC State has won nine of the last 11 meetings at Doak Field at Dail Park, and five of the last nine at Davenport Field. Avent is 8-3 vs. Virginia in the ACC Tournament as NC State played UVa in the conference tournament every year from 1997-2007. Avent is 15-9 against Virginia since Brian O’Connor became the Cavaliers’ head coach in 2004, and has lost just one season series, in 2009, to Virginia in that time.
NC State’s 6-5 win in last season’s series opener was Avent’s 500th victory as head coach of the Wolfpack.
NC State took two of three from Virginia last April 2-4 at Doak Field at Dail Park. The Wolfpack took the opener 6-5 in 11 innings, dropped the middle game of the series 8-4, then won the finale 7-6.
Kyle Wilson tied the game at 3-3 with a two-run homer in the eighth. Virginia retook the lead at 5-3 in the top of the ninth, but Dallas Poulk tied the game at 5-5 and sent it to extra innings with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth. Chris Diaz won the opener with an RBI single in the 11th inning.
Dan Grovatt had three hits and two RBIs for the Cavs in the middle game, and Branden Kline nailed down the win with 2 1/3 shutout innings in relief.
Andrew Ciencin’s seventh-inning grand slam homer, his second of four for the season, was the game-winner in the finale, giving the Wolfpack a 7-4 lead in the seventh.
The Starting Rotation
NC State will send senior righthander Rob Chamra (5-0, 4.35) to the mound to start the series opener on Friday. Junior lefthander Danny Hultzen (8-0, 1.17) will pitch the opener for the Cavaliers.
Junior righthander Cory Mazzoni (3-4, 4.19) will start the middle game of the series on Saturday and will be opposed by senior righthander Tyler Wilson (4-0, 2.63).
Redshirt-junior lefthander Grant Sasser (1-2, 2.42) will take the mound on Sunday for the series finale. Junior righthander Will Roberts (8-0, 1.11) will pitch the final game of the series for Virginia.
Chamra, from Cranford, N.J., will be making his 11th appearance and his fourth start. He has pitched 31 innings and allowed 15 runs, all earned, on 31 hits. He has struck out 24 and walked 13 while holding opposing batters to a .270 average.
Chamra is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA in his three starts. His last start was April 17 vs. No. 5 North Carolina, and he pitched 5 1/3 shutout innings. On March 16 vs. George Mason, Chamra started and went 5 1/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits. Chamra also pitched five shutout innings in relief against Clemson on March 26, allowing just one hit, to the last batter he faced.
Belying his won-lost record, Mazzoni, from Evans City, Pa., has been outstanding this season save for a rocky outing April 1 vs. Wake Forest. In four starts from March 4 vs. Penn State through March 25 vs. Clemson, Mazzoni had a 1.27 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings. He earlier struck out 10 or more in consecutive games against Clemson, Wake Forest and Miami, and has struck out 63 in his last 49 innings.
In his last appearance, April 15 vs. No. 5 North Carolina, Mazzoni allowed four runs on four hits in seven innings, striking out seven. All four runs vs. the Tar Heels came in the second inning, and 14 of the 33 runs he’s allowed this season came in the second inning. Mazzoni’s ERA in the second inning is 12.00; his ERA in all other innings is 2.87.
Mazzoni tossed a complete-game four-hit shutout against No. 15 Clemson on March 25, retiring 16 batters in a row at one point and 20 of 21. Mazzoni fanned a career-high 13 in seven innings March 4 vs. Penn State.
Sasser, from Fremont, N.C., made his first college start April 10 at Miami and is 0-1 with a 4.66 ERA in two starts since moving into the rotation. Sasser was a staple in the NC State bullpen for nearly two complete seasons before moving into the rotation.
Sasser allowed just two earned runs in 16 1/3 innings in his 10 relief appearances this season. Sasser opened the season by tossing 9 2/3 innings without allowing a run, and 12 innings without allowing an earned run.
A year ago, Sasser was 3-4 with a 3.56 ERA and five saves in a team-leading 26 appearances. In 2010, opponents batted .192 vs. Sasser with runners on base, .182 with runners in scoring position, .237 with two out, .205 with runners on base and two out, and .192 with two outs and runners in scoring position.
Mazzoni Mows ‘Em Down
How dominant can Wolfpack righthander Cory Mazzoni be? Once he settles into a groove, very dominant indeed. Maz has dominated opposing batters for an extended stretch in almost every game he’s pitched this season.
• On Feb. 26 vs. California, he retired 18 of 20 batters at one point.
• On March 4 vs. Penn State, he set down 15 of the first 17 men he faced and 21 of 26.
• On March 11 at Duke, he retired 16 of 20 Blue Devils in one stretch.
• On March 25 vs. Clemson, he retired 16 in a row at one point and 20 of 21.
• On April 8 at Miami, Mazzoni retired 18 of 20 starting in the second inning.
• A week ago vs. North Carolina, he mowed down 16 of 20 from the second through the seventh inning.
Who’s Hot For The Wolfpack
NC State is currently on a season-longest five-game winning streak, and several hitters have been hot recently.
• Right fielder John Gianis is batting .533 (8-for-15) and has scored seven runs in his last four games.
• Catcher Pratt Maynard, who has hit consistently all season, is 10-for-18 (.556) in his last four games, and 15-for-37 (.405) in his last eight.
• Shortstop Chris Diaz is 9-for-17 (.529) in his last four games, and 12-for-29 (.414) in his last eight.
• First baseman Harold Riggins is batting .375 (6-for-16) with a double and three RBIs in his last five games.
• Designated hitter Tarran Senay is 6-for-15 (.400) with six RBIs in his last four games.
• Third baseman Andrew Ciencin is hitting .353 (6-for-17) in his last four games.
• Left fielder Cameron Conner is 5-for-15 with three doubles in his last four games.
• Second baseman Matt Bergquist is hitting .256 (10-for-39) in his last 10 games, but has 16 RBIs in that time, including a six-RBI game and a seven-RBI game.
13-6 After 10-10 Start
NC State got its 2011 season off to an uncharacteristically slow 10-10 start. Since that disappointing beginning, the Wolfpack has begun to heat up and has won 13 of its last 19 games, including the last five in a row, to improve to 23-16 overall. The biggest difference between the first 20 games and the last 19 has been power.
NC State hit 35 doubles and eight home runs in the first 20 games.In the last 19 games, the Wolfpack has hit 40 doubles and 14 home runs.
The Pack batted .276 in the first 20 games, and .284 since then. The team on-base percentage has remained unchanged: .378 in the first 20 games and .379 in the last 19. The team slugging percentage, however, has jumped from .383 in the first 20 games to .425 in the last 19.
NC State averaged 5.15 runs per game the first 20 games, and 6.68 runs per game the last 19.
The pitching staff also has shown marked improvement in the last 19 games, with the staff ERA dropping from 4.94 the first 20 games to 3.93 the last 19.
Opponents batted .273 against NC State in the first 20 games, but just .246 the last 19. Opponents hit 14 home runs the first 20 games of the year, but just eight in the last 19, dropping the opponents’ slugging percentage from .396 to .373.
The bullpen was 6-2 with a 4.20 ERA and two saves in the first 20 games, but is 9-1 with a 3.04 ERA and five saves in the last 19 games.
The Five-Game Winning Streak
NC State’s 19-5 rout of UNC Wilmington on April 20 extended the Wolfpack’s current winning streak to a season-best five games, largely because of a resurgent offense. NC State is batting .333 and slugging .494 during the five-game streak.
Right fielder John Gianis is hitting .533 (8-for-17) with a double, a home run, two steals, seven runs scored and three RBIs during the streak. Catcher Pratt Maynard is batting an even .500 (11-for-22) with four doubles, a home run, seven runs scored and five RBIs.
Shortstop Chris Diaz is batting .474 (9-for-17) during the winning streak. First baseman Harold Riggins is hitting .375 (6-for-16). Third baseman Andrew Ciencin is batting .353 during the winning streak.
Designated hitter Tarran Senay is batting .364 (4-for-11) with a double, a triple and six RBIs. Left fielder Cameron Conner is hitting .313 (5-for-16).
The winning streak has not been all offense, however. The staff ERA is a respectable 3.80, and Wolfpack pitchers are holding opposing batters to a .238 batting average.
Rob Chamra (1-0, 5.1 innings) and Chris Overman (1-0, 2 saves, 4 innings) have not allowed a run during the winning streak. The NC State bullpen is 3-0 with a 3.32 ERA and two saves during the winning streak. Relievers Rey Cotilla, Josh Easley, Overman, D.J. Thomas, Nick Rice and Ethan Ogburn have combined to allow just four earned runs in 15 1/3 innings during the streak.
The Wolfpack Hits A Triple-Double
Twice this season, NC State has hit three triples in a game, the first time on Feb. 27 at Coastal Carolina during the Baseball at the Beach tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The second was April 20 at UNC Wilmington. NC State has hit 11 triples this season, and those two games account for 55 percent of them.
In the game at Myrtle Beach, Pratt Maynard hit one triple and Harold Riggins hit two. Riggins hit his two triples in back-to-back innings; in 2010, he hit two triples all season, in back-to-back months.
On April 20 in Wilmington, Tarran Senay hit a two-run triple in the first inning. Matt Bergquist hit a two-run triple in the fifth. Danny Canela led off the seventh inning with a triple.
Prior to 2011, the last time NC State hit three triples in a game was May 12, 2007, at Virginia. The last time the Wolfpack hit three triples in a game twice in the same season also was in 2007. The other was Feb. 10 vs. William & Mary in the second game of the year.
In the game vs. William & Mary, a 23-0 blowout by the Wolfpack, NC State got triples from Pat Ferguson, Ryan Pond and Vince Gutierrez. In the May 12 game at Virginia, a 10-7 victory for NC State, Dallas Poulk hit a pair of triples, and Marcus Jones hit one.
Record Vs. Ranked Teams
NC State is 6-5 vs. ranked opponents so far in 2011, and has won five of its last six games vs. ranked teams, sweeping fifth-ranked North Carolina the weekend of April 15-17, and taking two of three from Clemson the weekend of March 25-27.
The series between NC State and North Carolina drew near-record crowds to Doak Field at Dail Park. Friday’s crowd of 2775 was, at the time, the fourth-largest crowd at the Doak since the ballpark was renovated in 2003-04. Two days later, 2828 fans squeezed their way into the ballpark, making that the fourth-largest crowd in stadium history. Had it not been for the severe weather and tornadoes that roared through the Raleigh area Saturday afternoon, the series could have drawn well more than 8000 fans, which would have made it one of the two most-attended three-game series in stadium history.
Despite the severe weather that afternoon, a crowd of 1727 came out for Saturday evening’s game. The final tally for the three games was 7330, which ranks as the third-largest attendance for a three-game series since the stadium was renovated.
Following NC State’s 3-2 victory over Campbell on April 19, attendance for 2011 stands at 30,664 through 24 dates, an average of 1277 per contest.
At that pace, with 10 games remaining, NC State will draw 43,434 fans for the year, which would rank second in stadium history. The stadium record is 48,263 set in 2008. Second on the list currently is 41,846 set in 1995.
This season’s average attendance of 1277 per game, should that continue, would rank third in stadium history.
At the conclusion of this weekend’s series with Virginia, NC State will have played 35 games in 48 days, including 14 games on the road. Next week is dead week for the spring semester, followed by exam week, so the Wolfpack now gets a respite from the grind of the season and will have no midweek games for the next two weeks.
The Pack will return to action next weekend at Doak Field at Dail Park with a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series vs. Maryland. Game times are 6:30 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.