Elliott Avent has decided to save Cory Mazzoni for State's second game, citing his desire to keep Mazzoni on his regular schedule:
"Ever since the Boston College series [May 19-21], we’ve had Cory working on four days’ rest," Wolfpack head coach Elliott Avent said. "He probably had his best start of the season up there, and he followed that with another great game against Florida State in the conference tournament. So we had him throw an extended bullpen on Monday, on four days’ rest, and he’ll start Saturday regardless of the outcome of Friday’s game."
Of course, he's also looking ahead to a potential game against South Carolina on Saturday, and the fact that the Stetson Hatters are banged up and struggling likely played a role as well.
The Hatters, who "limped in" to the Atlantic Sun tournament, are just 4-8 over their last 12 games and they've been dealing with injuries to key players:
"Obviously losing Schluter was a real blow," Dunn said. "Not being able to start him Friday nights and match up with the other team's No. 1 and having to take other guys out of the bullpen, we were successful with guys in defined roles and that's been a little tough."
Junior catcher Nick Rickles -- one of the semifinalists for the Johnny Bench Award given annually to the nation's top catcher -- and third baseman Ben Carhart are both nursing foot injuries.
Schluter was the team's #1 starter and the A-Sun pitcher of the year. He was 8-0 with a 1.40 ERA before suffering a season-ending injury. Rickles, who is hitting .353/.415/.621 with 12 HR, is easily the team's best hitter, and Carhart is their only other major source of power. The two have accounted for 19 of the Hatters' 29 home runs this season and 54 of the team's 152 extra base hits.
Offensively the teams are very similar, at least in these somewhat crude terms, which ignore schedule/park adjustments. Stetson arguably has a stronger lineup at the top, but I think State's is better overall, because once you get past Stetson's top guys, it gets ugly pretty fast. Several potential starters have sub-.700 OPSes, and they get little power from the bottom half of the order.
It's an outstanding running team, though: Mark Jones, 17 of 18; Robert Crews, 9 of 11; Spencer Theisen, 13 of 17; Jeff Simpson, 28 of 32. No doubt those kids will test NC State, Simpson especially.
With Schluter out of the mix, Stetson figures to start either Will Dorsey or Lindsey Caughel.
(Stats courtesy College Splits.)