NC State baseball week in review

It was another horrible week for NC State baseball, but then, you knew that already.  There is a lot of negativity surrounding the team as it heads into the final two weeks of the season.  For the first time in who-knows-how-long, the Pack is in serious danger of finishing the year below .500.

It was obvious the week was going to be ugly when UNC-Wilmington routed State 17-1.  The Seahawk batters ate up NCSU pitchers Daryl Minugh and Ryan Combs, scoring 14 runs on the pair.  UNC-W starter Brad Overton completely silenced the Wolfpack offense, allowing only four hits and a run.  UNC-W avenged its earlier loss to State and further damaged the mindset of the slumping Wolfpack.

The Maryland series offered a great chance for NC State to break its four game losing streak, but the Terps showed the Wolfpack no sympathy.  Game one was a slugfest that saw Maryland eventually win by a score of 16-12.  NC State scored 11 runs in the first three innings off pitcher Jared Stewart. Stewart was replaced by Josh Andrews in the third and he held the Pack to three hits for the rest of the game.  The NC State pitchers fared no better than Stewart, letting a 5 run lead slip away and watching the Terps score in each of the first six innings.  Maryland baseball achieved the first 30-win season in the program's history with the victory.

Maryland got off to another quick start in game two and never relinquished the lead.  Wolfpack starter Daniel Caldwell gave six innings of mediocre work; the Terps scored 6 runs in that time.  Despite a ninth inning rally, the Pack could not make up the difference.  UMD won the game 7-6 in front of just 229 fans.

Game three of the series, along with the UNC-W result, could be considered one of the major low points of the season.  UMD pitcher Sean Kane pitched a complete game two-hitter, while Mike Prochaska gave up 6 runs in seven  innings.  Final: 7-0 Terps.  As if enough embarrassment had not been endured, this turned out to be the first conference series sweep for Maryland in eight years.

There are six games left for NC State (26-24, 4-17) in the regular season, all of them winnable (like the last four…).  Can NC State gather itself and salvage the end of the year?  Coach Elliot Avent's job may hang in the balance, though message board rumor holds that he will be around next season.  Despite an extremely easy non-conference schedule, State is just a few more losses from being under .500.  State will play two games against The Citadel, one game at Charlotte, and finish at home with a series against UVA.  NCSU will probably have to win the series against Virginia to avoid ninth place in the conference; Duke is currently in last place with a 3-12 mark, but has nine more games to play in-conference.


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