#17 NC State Wolfpack (22-9, 9-6 ACC, #6 RPI) @ Clemson Tigers (19-15, 8-7 ACC, #35 RPI)
Similar to the last few seasons, this NCSU team can hit the ball really well. They do seem a bit down on the overall power numbers. The big difference this season is that they can actually pitch well too. Their RPI tells us how tough their schedule has been thus far and they've done alright against it. Their only series loss had been to UNC. However, they lost 2 against a weak Maryland squad last weekend. They don't seem to be doing well on the road or in close games.
Clemson and N.C. State have met 181 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 109-71-1 lead in the series dating back to the 1921 season. The two have faced each other at least one time every season since 1953. The Tigers have won 10 of the last 14 games in the series. Last year in Raleigh, the Wolfpack defeated the Tigers twice in three games. Clemson then topped N.C. State 6-3 in the ACC Tournament. The Tigers hold a 55-22-1 lead over the Wolfpack in games played at Clemson and Jack is 43-21 as HC.
Friday/Sunday games are on ESPN3, the Saturday game is televised on your regional network (probably Fox SportsSouth for most).
Clemson defeated Furman 12-5, and bad defense and baserunning contributed to an 8-7 defeat at home to UGA. The tigers swept Puke last weekend.
NC State lost 2 of 3 to Maryland and defeated Elon 14-2.
Saturday, 12 Noon:
Rodon is a freshman with 5 wins in 8 starts, he may seriously be the most talented pitcher in the ACC.
Moving Brittle to the leadoff spot helped quite a bit last week and he's got the 2nd highest OBP on the team (.425) to go with the improving average (.330). Kieboom's bat has even started to awaken (avg up nearly 50 points). Wilkerson's average dropped a bit though, to .350.
What we still need is some hitting in the lower half of the lineup. Stolz (.259), McGibbon (.223), and Felder (.216) all need to raise their game to follow Kieboom in the lineup.
Scott Firth has lowered his ERA even further, down to 0.66 in 27 1/3 IP. If he'd lower the number of walks allowed (19) he'd be just about perfect as a Closer. I still believe that if they arent going to make him close (1 SV out of 9 on the team) fulltime then he should have Leone's spot. Campbell and Kent have both been solid and Andrews and Haselden have been coming back on. Meyer's performance has been much more surprising.
Aside from two guys, every NC State reliever has a sub-4.00 ERA. They seem to be letting their starters eat the innings up (Pay attention here Jack) and rely on just 3 or 4 guys in the pen. Ogburn and Overman (3.24) each have 2 saves to lead the team. Healey (3.72) and Thomas (3.20) are the primary guys other than the midweek starters who get mop-up duty on weekends.
I have a good feeling about the series for some reason. We usually handle NC State well. I think we win it 2-1.