NC State baseball week in review

The past week was very important for the NC State baseball team, which had won just two of its first nine ACC contests. The week presented an excellent opportunity for the Pack to win its first conference series and hopefully build momentum for the rest of the season.

Before getting Duke, State first met Winthrop.  As has been the case with most of the Pack's non-conference opponents, Winthrop could not stop the NC State offense.  NC State scored 5 runs in the first two innings and never trailed, though the Eagles did what they could to make it interesting.  In another pitching by committee game, Phillip Davidson logged three innings for the Wolfpack and got the victory.   The two teams were sloppy on defense, combining for seven errors (four by NCSU).  Brian Wright (BA .417) and Chad Orvella both hit homeruns en route to the 13-7 win.

The series with Duke was marked by an excellent effort by both the NC State offense and the NC State pitching staff.  Duke scored just 10 runs during the entire series.  In game one, Daniel Caldwell went the distance for the Pack.  Justin Riley went 3-5 at the plate, racking up five RBIs.  Brian Wright had another good showing, going 2-3 (he's hitting over .500 in his career against Duke).  Final score: State 9, Duke 3.

In game two, Derek McKee trumped Daniel Caldwell's pitching performance. McKee pitched another complete game for NC State, striking out ten hitters and keeping Duke scoreless for eight innings.  Duke managed 3 runs off a fatigued McKee in the ninth inning.  Led by Colt Morton's homerun and four RBIs, the Wolfpack offense gave McKee the run support he needed.  State won 7-3.

Duke finally got some solid pitching in game three.  Blue Devils starter went nine innings and allowed just 2 runs off six hits.  Mike Prochaska also pitched well for the Wolfpack, giving up 2 runs in seven innings.  The game went to the tenth inning, where Grant Stanley gave Duke the lead with an RBI single.  An insurance run scored via a sacrifice fly, but Duke did not need it.  They closed out the Pack in the bottom of the inning, taking the game 4-2 (and finally winning their first conference game of the season).

NC State (24-14, 4-8) can take a lot from the Duke series.  The offense was solid, the pitching staff had an excellent three games, and the Pack finally won a conference series.  Even though it came against the ACC's last place team, it still serves as an important step forward for the Wolfpack.  The Tarheels are next for State, followed by FSU.

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