Gameday: Pack Faces Georgia in Super Regional

NC State's baseball team returns to the diamond this weekend in the Super Regionals against Georgia. The Wolfpack will open the series with ace Clayton Shunick taking the mound today at noon and the game will be televised on ESPN.

NC State Wolfpack

Record: 40-20 (Home: 28-8, Away: 10-9, Neutral: 2-3, ACC: 18-11)

Hitting Leaders
Batting Avg:
Ryan Pond, .332
Hits: Ryan Pond and Marcus Jones, 71
Runs: Ryan Pond, 49
Home Runs: Pat Ferguson and Matt Payne, 9

Ryan Pond
RBIs: Marcus Jones, 48
Stolen Bases: Marcus Jones, 12

Pitching Leaders
Wins:
Clayton Shunick, 7
Saves: Jimmy Gillheeney, 10
ERA (Starters): Clayton Shunick, 2.16
Strikeouts: Clayton Shunick, 108
Innings Pitched: Clayton Shunick, 95.2
Opp Batting Avg (Starters): Jason Buchanan, .191

Wolfpack In The Polls
Baseball America:
#15
Collegiate Baseball: #15
NCBWA: #15

Notables

  • NC State pitching coach Tom Holliday announced that ace Clayton Shunick will start the series opener against Georgia.

    Shunick won first-team all-conference honors despite a deceptively poor 6-5 won-lost record. The junior from Alpharetta, Ga., was NC State's ace starter all season, and four of his five losses were by scores of 3-2, 2-1, 5-2 and 4-1. He finished with a 2.30 ERA and allowed 67 hits, walked 21 and struck out a league-leading 92 in 82 1/3 innings. He limited opposing batters to a .215 batting average.

  • Yesterday, Shunick got a special telephone call when the Cincinnati Reds made him their fifth-round pick in Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft.
    Eric Surkamp

    Shunick was the 149th player taken overall in the 2008 draft. M

  • Lefthander Eric Surkamp was taken a round later, as the San Francisco Giants picked the Wolfpack junior with the No. 177 overall selection in the draft.

    Surkamp, a junior from Cincinnati, Ohio, went 5-2 with a 4.28 ERA. Surkamp went through an up-and-down 2008 season, but is finishing on an up note, posting a 1-0 record with a 2.91 ERA in his last four starts. A second-team All-ACC pick as a sophomore in 2007, Surkamp has worked 73 2/3 innings in 15 starts, allowing 74 hits, walking 38 an d striking out 86.

  • The Pack will again be without sophomore closer Jimmy Gilheeney, also a first-team All-ACC selection. Gilheeney has missed all of postseason play for unspecified reasons. Eryk McConnell has moved into the closer's role.

    Gillheeney, a sophomore from Johnston, R.I., emerged the second week of the season as the Wolfpack's closer and wound up the regular season with a 2-0 record, a 1.12 ERA and 10 saves in 11 opportunities. In 21 appearances, Gillheeney pitched 32 innings, allowed 24 hits, walked 12 and struck out 42. Opponents batted just .209 against Gillheeney.

  • NC State has the fourth-best staff earned-run average in the nation (3.32) and has seven pitchers with ERAs below 3.00.

  • NC State is one of four Atlantic Coast Conference teams still in baseball's Sweet Sixteen.


    Georgia Bulldogs

    Record: 39-22-1 (Home: 25-11, Away: 13-9-1, Neutral: 1-2, SEC: 20-9-1)

    Hitting Leaders
    Batting Avg:
    Gordon Beckham, .397
    Hits: Gordon Beckham, 96
    Runs: Gordon Beckham, 85
    Home Runs: Gordon Beckham, 24

    Gordon Beckham
    RBIs: Gordon Beckham, 65
    Stolen Bases: Gordon Beckham, 17

    Pitching Leaders
    Wins:
    Trevor Holder, 7
    Saves: Josh Fields, 16
    ERA (Starters): Stephen Dodson, 4.41
    Strikeouts: Joshua Fields, 56
    Innings Pitched: Stephen Dodson, 87.2
    Opp Batting Avg (Starters): Stephen Dodson, .266

    Bulldogs In The Polls
    Baseball America:
    #9
    Collegiate Baseball: #7
    NCBWA: #13

    Notables

  • Georgia star shortstop Gordon Beckham was selected No. 8 overall in the 2008 MLB Draft.

    Beckham, who on Tuesday was named a finalist for the 2008 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, the premier award for the top amateur player. Also, on Thursday he was named a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy. He has earned First Team All-America honors as well as second-team Academic All-American recognition as a real estate major.

    Joshua Fields
    A 6-0, 185-pound native of Atlanta, he was a unanimous pick for SEC Player of the Year by the league coaches and was named the SEC baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He ranks among the national leaders in several offensive categories. He is batting .397 with 24 home runs, 85 runs scored, 189 total bases, 65 RBI while fielding .961 in 279 total chances.

    Beckham is the highest draft pick for the Bulldogs since 1987 when pitcher Derek Lilliquist went sixth overall to the Atlanta Braves. Coming out of high school, Beckham was not drafted after a standout football/baseball career at Westminster.

  • Beckham isn't the only star on Georgia's team, as closer Joshua Fields is arguably the nation's best. He was also selected in the first round of the MLB Draft, as the Seattle Mariners picked him with the 20th overall selection.

    In 30 appearances, Fields converted 16-of-16 save opportunities, as opponents are batting just .112 against him. The SEC's career saves leader with 39, Fields recorded 56 strikeouts in 31 innings pitched.

    Fields, a 6-0, 178-pound native of Hull, Ga., has already been named a First Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and the SEC Pitcher of the Year by the league coaches this season. He is also is the 2008 recipient of the National Stopper of the Year Award, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association announced Wednesday.

  • Georgia is 3-0 all-time in Super Regionals, last defeating South Carolina in three games in 2006.

  • The Bulldogs are 15-for-15 in NCAA elimination games at Foley Field.


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