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Baseball Preview: NC State

WILMINGTON, N.C. – UNCW hosts NC State at Brooks Field on Tuesday before returning to the road and conference play next weekend at the College of Charleston.
Tuesday's game with the Wolfpack is sold out.

The Seahawks (12-5) averted a sweep at William & Mary on Sunday as freshmen Ryan Calvert and Hunter Hodges delivered pair of strong outings on the mound in a 4-1 win over the Tribe.

The Wolfpack, meanwhile, was swept at home by nationally-ranked Louisville and enter Tuesday's non-conference game with a 4-9 record on the season.

Making the start for UNCW is freshman righthander Jacob Shafer (1-0), who will be making his third start of the season. Last week against East Carolina, Shafer allowed a pair of runs in the top of the first before settling down and tossing four shutout frames in UNCW's 10-2 win.

NCSU will send junior lefthander David Harrison to the bump for his second start of the season.

UNCW opens its series at Charleston on Friday with a 6 p.m. start at Patriots Point.
Seahawk Perch preview: https://seahawkperch.substack.com/p/seah...new-streak

Seahawks Look to Start New Streak
UNCW plays host to N.C. State on Tuesday night

Brant Wilkerson-New
8 hr ago
N.C. State (4-9) at UNCW (12-5)

RHP Jacob Shafer (1-0, 5.23) vs. LHP David Harrison (0-0, 1.93)
6 p.m. | Brooks Field | FloSports | 95.9 The Breeze | Live Stats
The Seahawks make a brief stop back in the Port City on Tuesday night as UNCW plays host to its second midweek game of the season, this time welcoming a struggling Wolfpack team.

As things usually go for matchups with ACC programs, Brooks Field is likely to have a little more energy than usual — something that seemingly played a major factor for the Seahawks last week in a victory over East Carolina.

That could be key for a UNCW team coming off a shaky performance at William & Mary, where the Seahawks weren’t able to carry their momentum into the weekend and had to settle with a single victory vs. the Tribe.

Given State’s struggles this season, there’s a little less buzz surrounding the mtchup this season. Here’s a preview from the State perspective via The Technician, but the mood is a bit dark right now for Wolfpack fans.

Here’s what we’ll be watching:

Meet the Wolfpack
Hitters to Watch: Luca Tresh (.340, 7 HR, 16 RBI), Jonny Butler (.361, 3 HR, 9 RBI), Austin Murr (.381, 5 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI) Tyler McDonough (.280, 4 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI), J.T. Jarrett (.280, 3 2B, 8 RBI).

Winner of 84 games over the past two full seasons and chosen to finish second in Atlantic Division in the ACC’s preseason poll, it’s safe to say no one saw this coming for State, which currently stands No. 180 in the RPI rankings — six spots behind William & Mary.

The Wolfpack hasn’t had any trouble putting runs on the board, averaging 6.2 runs behind Tresh, a catcher with early-round potential in the MLB Draft, Butler and Murr.

The issue has been on the other side, with opponents putting up an average of 8.5 runs against a pitching staff with an ERA of 6.92 and a not-so-hot WHIP of 1.53.

A batting average of .270 against State pitchers doesn’t jump off the page, but 33 doubles allowed is alarming. Add two doubles and 17 homers to that, and nearly 42 percent of hits off the Wolfpack have gone for extra bases.

Tonight’s starter, Harrison, fared well in his only start of the season, tossing three scoreless innings vs. Campbell on March 2, allowing three hits.

State has played just two midweek games this season: losing 16-13 to UNCG on Feb. 23 and the 14-6 victory over the Camels.

Shafer Starts

Jacob Shafer was phenomenal last week against a potent East Carolina lineup, retiring 11 straight Pirates at one point.

How will he follow that up against another big-time opponent with future pros in the lineup?

It’s another excellent opportunity for the freshman righthander, who also pitched well in his collegiate debut vs. Cincinnati on March 4, giving up four runs on six hits in 4.1 innings.

At 6-8, 230 pounds, Shafer has physical profile of a future MLB Draft selection, and with another big performance against a program from a more high-profile conference, the scouts on hand will certainly take notice of an impressive body of work over his first month at UNCW.

He showed some impressive stuff in rallying from early struggles against ECU, adjusting his angle and locking in to get the victory.

Lineup Shuffle?
Early on this season, UNCW coach Randy Hood was more than willing to mix up his lineup and grab a bat off the bench.

Last weekend in Williamsburg, he largely stuck with the established starting lineup aside from starting Zachary Bridges at catcher in the second game on Saturday while moving Matt Suggs to designated hitter. Trevor Marsh started two games and was called on to pinch hit in the other, while Jack Howell got an at-bat as a pinch hitter.

Coming off three games in two days with another CAA series set for this weekend, will we see anyone else get a shot?

Ron Evans seems like the most likely candidate to get a few swings, given State will start a lefthanded pitcher.

Bridges Breakout

Noah Bridges has shown flashes of his impressive tools this season, using his speed to get on base and cause trouble once he gets there, while also blasting a couple of big homers, including a 3-run shot in Sunday’s victory.

Seeing State on the schedule might just help the outfielder start a streak, as Bridges has at least one hit in every game he’s played against the Wolfpack, going 5-14 overall with five RBI — all of which came in the April 16, 2019 matchup when he had an RBI single and then hit a grand slam in the sixth inning of a 14-7 loss.

Base Hits
UNCW is 19-72 all-time vs. State, losing six straight games in the series by an average margin of 6.1 runs and 15 of the past 16.

UNCW’s last victory against the Wolfpack came on March 22, 2016, when Brian Mims hit a 2-run homer and had an RBI single in a 6-4 win.

Tonight’s game will be Randy Hood’s 34th (23-10) as head coach and the 1,871st (1,117-753) for State coach Elliott Avent.

The Seahawks have started fast this season, outscoring opponents 20-6 in the first inning and 12-8 in the second. UNCW has gotten on the board in its first at-bat in nine of 17 games this season.

No errors or multiple errors seem to be the formula. UNCW is 6-0 when it commits no errors and 4-0 when it commits two or more, but the Seahawks are 2-5 when committing one error.

Walks continue to be an indicator of success, with UNCW drawing 5.1 per game in wins and only 2.0 per game in losses.

The Seahawks are striking out an average of 5.5 times over the past four games.
Not sure if you you saw, but starting Friday, sports venues can now get up to 50%. Hopefully, we will be selling more tickets to our upcoming home games@!
(03-23-2021 02:48 PM)Seahawkhoops Wrote: [ -> ]Not sure if you you saw, but starting Friday, sports venues can now get up to 50%. Hopefully, we will be selling more tickets to our upcoming home games@!

I’ve been told we won’t be able to increase capacity at Brooks even with the increase to 50 %. This is due to the 6 ft social distancing rule still in place.
Meh, well that sucks. probably not many venues that can get to 50% with 6 feet still in place.
Both the Wolfpack and Seahawks go down 1-2-3 in the first. No score, 2nd inning.
Bottom 2nd: Brandenburg and Suggs go yard back to back! 2-0 Hawks!
Now a 2-1 game. NC State with a 2-out double and triple to bring in the run.

On the triple, Baldwin tried to make a diving play on a line shot to right and has come up limping.

He'll stay in the game, however.
The first pitch after the injury forces Baldwin to make a leaping catch. Naturally.

Bottom 4th, 2-1 Hawks.
The Wolfpack just tied it up in the top of the 5th on a monster HR by Devonte Brown.

They followed that up with a single up the middle and a double to put runners on 2nd & 3rd with no one out, prompting a pitching change. Shafer had pitched well up to that point.

Tied up at 2, top 5th. NC State continuing to threaten.
Liverpool and then Cole Benton retire consecutive State batters, but the latter was a SAC fly that brings in a run. 3-2 Wolfpack.
Benton gets a big K to end the threat and limit the damage.

Bottom 5th, NC State leads 3-2.
Bottom 6th: Weiss leads off the inning with a solo blast to right! 3-3 game.
NC State is able to scrape their way to a run in the 7th off of Bryce Cota. 4-3 Wolfpack.
5-3 NC State, bottom 8th.
9th inning, still 5-3 NC State.
Last chance for the Hawks in the bottom of the 9th. Croom-Bridges-Marsh due up.
1st & 2nd, 2 down for Baldwin.
5-3 final, NC State wins.
Sucks. Not playing with an edge right now offensively. Chenault has electric stuff from what I could tell the in his 1 inning of work. We have at least 4 freshmen that have ability on the mound, but we gave up 2 walks that came back to bite .
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