NC State Wolfpack (12-10, 1-5 ACC) vs. #17 Clemson Tigers (12-7, 3-3 ACC)
The pitwolfies are typically a team short on pitching and with good hitting, but so far this year even the hitting has been bad. They're really struggling. They opened up the season by losing 2 of 3 to Elon, then lost to Cal, a series loss to Penn State, and they lost the series to Duke. They were swept by GT last weekend, but that one is understandable in Atlanta. They haven't won a season series this year. Cory Mazzoni (1-2, 3.31) has been victimized by a pair of three-run homers in his losses, but the rest of the rotation hasn't firmed up, which was the achilles' heel for the Pack last year. He was really the only one I considered any good last season.
Clemson AD Series Preview -- Opposing AD series preview
Clemson's schedule strength thus far is rated #5. NC State is #60. The pseudo RPI rates us #4 and NCSU 50th. NC State is not this bad a team though, and it only takes a bad day from our pitching to wake their bats up. With the way they hit last year its only a matter of time before their better hitters wake up. They didn't lose everyone.
The Tigers hold a 39-35 lead all-time in games played at N.C. State and an 85-54 advantage in ACC regular-season games. Jack has a 41-19 record against the Wolfpack as Clemson's head coach, including a 12-12 record at N.C. State.
Clemson swept Duke at home, then beat Elon twice. NC State won both midweeks against Northwestern after being swept by GT in Atlanta.
The Pack hit 98 homers a year ago and returned top power plants such as Harold Riggins (12 homers a year ago), Chris Schaeffer and Pratt Maynard (11 apiece) and Andrew Ciencin (10). Last year's team hit 33 homers through 20 games. This year's club had eight through the same amount of games and went homerless against Northwestern.
N.C. State is averaging 5.2 runs per game and hitting .282 with a .387 slugging percentage and .382 on-base percentage. The Tigers are averaging 8.2 runs per game and hitting .335 with a .464 slugging percentage and .432 on-base percentage.
Chris Diaz is hitting a team-high .368 with three stolen bases, while Pratt Maynard is batting .341 with one homer, 15 RBIs, and a .451 on-base percentage. John Gianis and Brett Williams are both hitting .301, while Williams has a team-high two long balls.
This from Baseball America is also quite interesting.
"The bats changed because people were cheating," Coach Elliott Avent said. "Instead of punishing the cheaters, the NCAA changed everything about the bats, changed the rules. But we need to adjust, which mostly has to happen mentally. We've been early and under too often (with our swings), but that worked with the old bats. You'd be early and under and get the ball in the air, and a lot of the time it would go out. That's not happening with these bats, so we need to hit more line drives and be more gap-to-gap."
John Hinson has a slight concussion and has been out with that. I do not know when he's set to come back, so our lineup has been in more flux with him and Brad Miller gone. Stolz hurt his back again, so we may be cycling fielders in and out the rest of the year. They all suck equally in the field so I doubt we notice. Dominic Attanasio has hit really well and I expect we'll see plenty of him this weekend somewhere, hopefully RF.
Kevin Brady will likely start throwing again soon and be back in April. No need to rush him because he has a MLB arm.
The ones in our bullpen I expected to have solid ERAs are the ones with the worst. Alex Frederick, Joseph Moorefield, Dom Leone, and Will Lamb have all been either horrible or solid, and all have ERAs over 4.50 so far. Lamb at least did well againt Elon and could be used as a closer or late relief. Jon Meyer and Kevin Pohle have both been pretty good, but Pohle gives up a few too many hits thus far. Looks like Meyer is the de facto closer at the moment.
NCSU has been hunting a starter behind Mazzoni so several guys in the pen have logged over 16 IP so far. Most aren't that good, but Grant Sasser has given up 1ER in 13 IP with 14 Ks as the closer. Chris Overman (4-0, 3.31) and Vance Williams (1-0, 2.70) are others that stand out.
Clemson is pretty bad in the field, and NCSU is OK there. We could make a few errors and lose this series if the scores are close. I think we win 2 though.