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NC State Baseball

PACK9 PREVIEW: Pack Hosts Cardinals In Pivotal Three-Game Series

April 12, 2019
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No. 2 NC State (29-5, 12-3 ACC) enters this weekend atop the ACC Atlantic Division with No. 13 Clemson and No. 12 Louisville (25-8, 10-5 ACC) nipping at its heels, trailing by one and two games, respectively. The Pack hosts the 12th-ranked Cardinals with State’s spot at the top potentially on the line.

LAST TIME...

The Wolfpack played — State is coming off a midweek loss to No. 24 Coastal Carolina on Wednesday. After previous picking up the win in Conway, S.C., the Pack fell short as a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning put the Chanticleers ahead by a run. Coastal struck out the side in the bottom half of the frame to secure the win, 7-6.

The Cardinals played — Louisville is coming off a win over Northern Kentucky Tuesday. Exemplified by a four-run inning in the bottom of the seventh, the Cardinals dispatched the Norse relatively easily, 11-2.

The Wolfpack played versus an ACC team — Making the road trip to Chestnut Hill, Mass., NC State picked up wins over Boston College last Friday and Saturday before dropping Sunday’s series finale. In the first game the Pack rallied for three runs in the ninth before staving off the Eagles’ rally in the home half, limiting BC to only two runs to end the game at 6-5. State’s Saturday performance ended up being much more dominant as the Pack powered its way to victory, 16-4.

On Sunday, NC State managed to tie the game at one each in the fourth before Boston College plated two runs in the bottom of the eighth. The Eagles held the Pack in check to avoid the sweep and win, 3-1.

The Cardinals played versus an ACC team — In a series to determine the heir apparent to the Atlantic should the Pack falter, Louisville traveled to Clemson last weekend and proceeded to fall in the first two games of the series. However, the Cardinals managed to win in extra innings Sunday afternoon.

Clemson pushed four runs across in Friday’s third inning, giving the Tigers enough room to comfortably coast to victory, 5-1. The Cardinals tried to rally back from a 6-0 deficit Saturday, but Louisville’s offense failed to match the Tigers’ output with the Cards falling short, 6-3.

In a more competitive matchup than the previous two encounters, on Sunday Louisville tied the game in the top of the seventh after Clemson pushed a run across in the fourth to bring the score to 4-3. The score stayed tied at four each until the Cardinals scored three runs off of two solo home runs and an RBI single in the top of the 11th inning, giving Louisville enough leverage to take the win, 7-4.

The Wolfpack played versus Louisville — The last time these two teams squared off was in last season’s rubber match at Patterson Stadium on April 8, 2018. The Cardinals started the 2018 series with an 8-2 win, aided by seven shutout innings by Louisville starter Adam Wolf. The Pack rebounded the next day, rallying for four runs in the top of the ninth as State won the game, 9-6.

NC State’s offense came alive as the Pack scored three runs in the first inning to take the lead, never relinquishing it as the Wolfpack put up double-digit runs for the eighth time up to that point in the season. The Pack took the win, 10-3, giving the team its fifth of what would end up being seven straight series wins in conference play.

SCOUTING THE CARDINALS

As previously mentioned, Louisville sits in third place in the Atlantic Division, two games behind the Wolfpack. The Cards are ranked in all polls, as high as No. 12  (NCBWA) and as low as No. 22 (Perfect Game). Though Louisville’s offense ranks 11th in the conference in batting with a .258 average as a team, the Cardinals’ true strength lies in its pitching.

Louisville is currently atop the ACC in earned run average (2.97), strikeouts (348), opponent’s batting average (.204), and WHIP (1.10). Reid Detmers is the Cardinals’ best example of the team’s pitching supremacy with a 5-2 record, an ERA of 1.65, 86 strikeouts, and 10 walks in 54.2 innings of work.

Tyler Fitzgerald is arguably Louisville’s best pure position player. He currently sits behind Lucas Dunn’s .350 average at .303 on the year, but Fitzgerald leads the team in hits (40), RBI (28), and total bases (60); is tied with Trey Leonard for the team lead in steals (12), and is tied with Henry Davis and Logan Wyatt for second on the team in home runs (three) behind Alex Binelas’ four.

MEANWHILE ELSEWHERE

Another meaningful series to keep an eye on will be in Tallahassee, Fla. as Florida State hosts Clemson for a three-game series. The Seminoles, though in a three-way tie for fourth in the Atlantic, sit three games behind Louisville. The Tigers, as mentioned earlier, are second in the division, one game behind the Pack. The rest of the Atlantic is tied up in interdivisional series as Boston College hosts Georgia Tech, Wake Forest travels to Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame hosts North Carolina.

In the Coastal Division, Virginia looks to make up ground on Georgia Tech and North Carolina as the Cavaliers host Miami while Duke hosts Virginia Tech.

GAME TIMES AND STARTERS

 

  TIME NCSU UL
FRIDAY 6:30 p.m. Jason Parker (3-1, 1.98) Reid Detmers (5-2, 1.65)
SATURDAY 2 p.m. Reid Johnston (5-0, 2.47) Nick Bennett (4-2, 3.40)
SUNDAY 1 p.m. TBA Bobby Miller (1-0, 4.80)

 

Tags: Baseball
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