Previewing NC State

The first-place and top-ranked Tar heels (37-11, 16-7 ACC) head over to Raleigh for a weekend series with NC State (22-27, 8-16 ACC). Check out the key details to know about UNC's opponent for this three-game matchup ...

Game Schedule
Fri. 5/8 - 6:30 pm
Sat. 5/9 - 6:30 pm
Sun. 5/10 - 2:00 pm

* This series will be televised by ACC-Select and will be available on the radio on Tar Heel Network affiliates as well as on WKNC-FM (88.1). Tickets remain as of Friday morning, though they are expected to sell out.

* NC State has won three of its last six games and is on pace to miss the ACC Tournament, as it sits in fourth place in the Atlantic Division and 10th overall in the ACC.

* The Tar Heels lead the all time series with the Wolfpack, 140-119-1. NC State coach Elliot Avent is 19-20 against the Tar Heels, with 11 of the victories coming at Doak Field in Raleigh. Last year the Tar Heels split the two games completed between the two teams at the USA Baseball Training Facility in Cary, while the third was rained out.

* In ACC competition the Pack have won two series this season -- against Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.

* The Wolfpack has turned it around recently on offense, batting .302 in their last six games and averaging eight runs.

* Sophomore second baseman Russell Wilson has been hot recently, batting .389 in his last six games, while freshman outfielder Cameron Connor has batted .467 in his last five games. The Wolfpack as a team bats .266 with runners in scoring position, but freshman catcher Pratt Maynard leads in this category with a .350 percentage. Maynard, who also has 17 runs batted in with two outs, was a high school teammate of the Tar Heels' red-shirting catcher Jeff May.

* Only two players who have started more than 19 games for the Wolfpack are batting over .300 this season - Andrew Ciencin (.310 with 32 starts) and John Gianis (.302 in 21 starts). The Wolfpack's top batter only has 9 starts, as Conner is batting .344 in 32 at bats.

* Junior infielder Kyle Wilson is the main threat for the Pack on the basepaths. He has successfully stolen 27 bases in 31 attempts this season. The Pack only has three other players with more than five stolen bases - Devon Cartwright with 9, Wade Moore with 8 and Gianis with 7.

* Defense has been the foil for the Wolfpack this season, committing 98 errors in 49 games. Infielders Dallas Poulk, Kyle Wilson and Drew Martin have all contributed at least 16 errors apiece, while Wilson and Martin are sporting fielding percentages in the .800s for the season.

* The starting pitchers for the Wolfpack this weekend are junior lefty Jimmy Gillheeney (5-4, 3.54 ERA) on Friday, junior lefty James Lambert (1-3, 6.05 ERA) on Saturday, and then on Sunday the Pack expect to throw its entire staff at the Tar Heels. The Pack pitching staff has a 5.02 ERA and has allowed opposing hitters to hit .269 with 29 home runs.

Gillheeney has specialized in picking off runners this season - erasing eight baserunners in his ten starts. He picked off three against Miami on March 6. Last season Gillheeney was the Pack's closer and was on the NCBWAA Stopper of the Year Watch List before heading to the weekend rotation this season. He has pitched into the 6th inning in every start this season, while making it to the seventh in six of his starts. Last season Gillheeney was honored on the All-ACC Team as a reliever and in high school was ranked as the No. 59 senior prospect by Baseball America. The Rhode Island native is one of the top professional prospects on the Wolfpack roster.

Lambert joined the Pack rotation on April 1st against East Carolina. He has been drafted twice so far in his baseball career (37th round in 2006, 36th round in 2008). He uses a sweeping breaking ball that dives late and has given opposing batters trouble. He has given up three or more earned runs in half of his starts this season.

* NC State has two other pitchers that have started more than three games this season - Jake Buchanan (6.50 ERA with a 2-5 record and eight starts) and Zak Sinclair (1-1 with a 4.43 ERA and eight starts). State has five other pitchers that have started three games or more and does not have a traditional closing pitcher - as a team they have only amassed seven saves and no pitcher has more than two saves on the roster.


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