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    Baseball Prepares For NCAA Opener
     
    Ethan Ogburn
    Ethan Ogburn
     

    Link to Game Notes (PDF format)

    June 2, 2011

    COLUMBIA, S.C -

    NC State begins play in the 2011 NCAA Columbia Regional on Friday with a 1 p.m. game vs. Stetson.

    All of NC State's game in the Columbia Regional will be broadcast live on WKNC-FM (88.1) and will be available on-line free of charge 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.

    Sophomore righthander Ethan Ogburn (6-4, 4.06) will start against the Hatters. Junior righthander Cory Mazzoni (5-6, 3.38) will start on Saturday against either South Carolina or Georgia Southern. The decision to start Ogburn was based more on keeping Mazzoni on his current cycle of pitching every fifth day.

    "Ever since the Boston College series [May 19-21], we've had Cory working on four days' rest," Wolfpack head coach Elliott Avent said. "He probably had his best start of the season up there, and he followed that with another great game against Florida State in the conference tournament. So we had him throw an extended bullpen on Monday, on four days' rest, and he'll start Saturday regardless of the outcome of Friday's game."

    Avent also said that by pitching Mazzoni in the second game of the tournament, he hopes to avoid going deep into his bullpen on back-to-back games.

    "In retrospect I wish I'd used him more on Saturdays this year instead of Fridays, not to avoid the other team's No. 1 starter, but because we had a number of series where we went deep into the pen on consecutive days. We generally stay with Cory even if he runs into trouble, whereas we're a little quicker to go to the bullpen with some of our other pitchers. It's much better to break up those games than to have them bunched together."

    NC State In The NCAA Tournament
    The 2011 NCAA Columbia Regional will be NC State's 24th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Pack has played 82 NCAA Tournament games with a 35-47 record.

    This year's regional appearance is NC State's 19th in the last 25 years, and Wolfpack's 11th in head coach Elliott Avent's 15 seasons. NC State's last regional appearance was the 2010 Myrtle Beach Regional, which saw the Wolfpack fall to College of Charleston and Stony Brook. NC State is 14-16 in Avent's previous 10 regional appearances, and 15-20 in NCAA play overall since Avent became head coach in 1997.

    NC State vs. The Columbia Regional Field
    This marks the third time in five years that NC State and South Carolina have been paired in the same regional. They also were bracketed together in the 2007 Columbia Regional and the 2008 Raleigh Regional.

    NC State is 25-21 all-time vs. South Carolina, and defeated the Gamecocks twice 5-4 and 2-1 in the 2008 Raleigh Regional.

    Clayton Shunick allowed USC two earned runs in 6 1/3 innings in a second-round matchup, and four relievers combined to pitch 2 2/3 shutout innings. Dallas Poulk went 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs.

    NC State won the regional the next night thanks to five shutout innings by the bullpen as Matt Payne singled home the winning run in the seventh inning.

    NC State and South Carolina have played one another five times previously in the NCAA Tournament, with the Gamecocks holding a 3-2 advantage.

    South Carolina defeated the Wolfpack 9-0 in the first round of the 1974 District 3 Tournament in Starkville, Miss. The two teams met a year later in Columbia in the NCAA Atlantic Regional, with the Gamecocks eliminating NC State 4-3.

    Ray Tanner's only ACC championship team at NC State, the 1992 Wolfpack, came face-to-face with his future in the Atlantic Regional in Coral Gables, Fla., with South Carolina defeating the Pack 9-6.

    The Wolfpack is 2-1 in the all-time series vs. Stetson, including a pair of NCAA Tournament matchups.

    NC State played defeated Stetson 11-6 during a four-game swing through Florida to begin the 1950 season. The Hatters eliminated the Wolfpack from the 1988 East Regional in Tallahassee, Fla., by a 4-1 score.

    NC State got revenge two years later by eliminating Stetson from the 1990 Atlantic Regional in Coral Gables, Fla., 13-2.

    NC State is 0-2 all-time against Georgia Southern. The two teams first met in the 1974 NCAA District 3 Tournament, with the Eagles winning 8-1. The only other meeting between the two schools was an 8-6 win by GSU in 1998 in Charleston, S.C.

    The Starting Pitchers
    Sophomore righthander Ethan Ogburn and junior righthander Cory Mazzoni will start the first two games for NC State in the Columbia Regional. The Wolfpack's pitching plans beyond those two games are still to be determined.

    Mazzoni has received 76 runs of support in his 15 starts, 5.1 runs per game, but he received 45 of those runs, 59.2 percent, in just four starts. In Mazzoni's other 11 starts, the Wolfpack scored an average of 2.8 runs per game.

    • Entering play in the Columbia Regional, Mazzoni has not allowed a run in 16 consecutive innings, and only one earned run in his last 21 innings.
    • In his last two starts, May 25 vs. Florida State and May 20 vs. Boston College, both on four days' rest, he allowed no runs on seven hits in 15 innings, striking out 20 and walking one.
    • The Seminoles got a hit in each of the first two innings before Mazzoni retired 15 of 16 at one point, and 21 of the last 24 men he faced.
    • Mazzoni shut down Boston College on three hits through eight innings, retiring 16 of the first 17 batters he faced and 23 of 26 overall.
    • He struck out 11 BC hitters, the sixth time this season he has reached double figures in K's, tying a school record set in 1995 by Terry Harvey.
    • Mazzoni struck out 10 or more in consecutive games against Clemson, Wake Forest and Miami, and is the only NC State pitcher since at least 1977 to fan 10 or more in three consecutive games.
    • Mazzoni ranks fourth in NC State history for K's in a single season with 125, and seventh in career punchouts with 244.
    • In his last three starts -- vs. Boston College, East Tennessee State and twice vs. Florida State -- Mazzoni is 2-1 with a 0.91 ERA, 37 strikeouts and four walks in 29 2/3 innings.

    Ogburn will be making his 20th appearance and his eighth start of the season. He has worked 57 2/3 innings, which ranks third on the staff, and has struck out 46 and walked 21.

    • In his last start, May 19 at Boston College, he allowed two run on six hits in six innings.
    • Ogburn is 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA in his seven starts, but that includes a one-inning, seven-run outing March 20 at Georgia Tech.
    • Ogburn has not allowed a walk in his last 18 innings of work.
    • In his last six appearances, Ogburn is 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA in 18 innings, with 15 strikeouts and one walk.
    • Ogburn struck out a career-best 11 in six innings March 1 vs. Davidson.


    NC State Comes Into The Postseason Hot
    NC State began the season struggling -- 10-10 after its first 20 games -- but the Wolfpack is finishing the season on a roll. The Pack is 8-4 over its last 12 games, including six games against teams in the top 10 of the NCAA RPI rankings. The Wolfpack has batted a solid .288 over the last dozen games, but the name of the game for NC State in that time has been run prevention. NC State has a 2.92 ERA and a gaudy .985 fielding percentage in those 12 games.

    The starting pitchers are 6-1 with a 2.37 ERA the last 12 games, striking out 52 and walking 16 in 64 2/3 innings while holding the opposition to a .224 average. Junior righthander Cory Mazzoni has made three starts in that time and is 2-0 with a 0.43 ERA and 28 strikeouts and three walks in 21 innings, while holding opposing hitters to a .173 average.

    Sophomore righthander Chris Overman has made seven appearances, all out of the pen, and has two saves while allowing just two runs on seven hits in 11 1/3 innings and fanning eight and walking none.

    Freshman righthander D.J. Thomas has made six appearances, including one start, and is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA. Sophomore righthander Josh Easley has a 3.55 ERA with a save and 20 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings.

    Defensively, NC State has committed just seven errors in the 12 games -- only one error in the last eight games -- none by an outfielder or a catcher, and has made all the routine plays.

    Third baseman Andrew Ciencin has two errors in the 12 games, but has handled his last 19 defensive chances without a miscue. Second baseman Matt Bergquist, who started at shortstop as a freshman a year ago, has two errors in the 12 games, but also leads the infield with 35 assists and has handled his last 29 chances without an error. Shortstop Chris Diaz has handled 43 defensive chances without an error over the last 12 games.

    Offensively, NC State has scored 6.9 runs per game and is hitting .288 the last 12 games, which includes a .239 average against elite pitching by Florida State, Georgia Tech and Clemson in the ACC Championship.

    Bergquist has hit safely in all 12 games, and his 12-game hitting steak is tied for the longest by a Wolfpack hitter this season. Bergquist is hitting .348 (16-for-46) with four doubles, one homer and 11 RBIs, and he has driven in runs in seven of the 12 games.

    Pratt Maynard is hitting .327 (16-for-49) with four doubles, two home runs, 12 runs scored and six RBIs.

    All eight of NC State's regulars have between six and 11 RBIs during the 12 games, and seven of the eight are hitting .288 or better.

    As always, please visit GoPack.com regularly for full coverage of all NC State athletics news and events.


     

     

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