Free Passes, Hit Batters Spell Doom on the Diamond

USA TODAY Sports

LOUD NOISES!

On a day when Wolfpack Nation could use a ray of sunshine, a glimmer of hope, lemons turned to tasty lemonade, a frown turned upside down, an end to a long list of clichés...there wasn't any good news from the diamond. Florida State made easy work of the entire N.C. State rotation over the weekend but refused to have the decency to finish us off in a gentlemanly fashion. After a pair of blowouts, the Pack fought back from an early deficit in the series finale, ultimately forcing extra frames and taking the lead in top of the 13th, and losing anyway.

The high from Friday's win over Syracuse is a distant memory, amiright?

Let's condense this into bullets:

  • Rodon had his strikeout stuff and then some Friday, fanning 12 in 6.2 innings, but he was also rather wild, walking four and hitting a batter. He also gave up five hits and was lucky to escape with just two runs allowed. The bullpen imploded after him and State dropped the opener 6-1.
  • Overall in Friday's game, State's staff walked seven and FSU's pitchers walked two. That's a five-walk difference; the difference in the final score was five runs.
  • On Saturday, Wild Thing Logan Jernigan returned. After a nice stretch of mixing in some strikes every now and then, Jernigan walked five and hit a batter in 4.1 innings against the Noles. He also gave up a gopher ball to Ben Deluzio, but his three runs allowed was actually probably fortunate given all the free passes.
  • Those three runs would have been enough anyway, but once again the bullpen imploded after an early exit from the starter. I don't know if D.J. Thomas was trying to ignite a brawl, but he hit three batters in the time it took him to get five outs. He also gave up four hits and walked a batter. Somehow he only gave up three runs, two earned. FSU left 12 men on in the game.
  • Joe O'Donnell gave up as many runs as he got outs, two, as the Noles expanded their lead to 8-1. The Pack's one-run, ninth-inning rally fell just short in the 8-2 final.
  • The Noles were +4 in walks and +8 in free bases when you throw in the HBPs; they won by six.
  • Brad Stone topped Rodon and Jernigan with his one-plus inning outing. After cruising through the first, Stone failed to record an out in the second, allowing four straight men to reach on a homer, a couple of doubles, and a hit by pitch. Andrew Woeck did him no favors, allowing a pair of inherited runners to score after relieving Stone.
  • Woeck ended up giving up three runs (two earned) of his own after the Pack had battled all the way back to take a 6-4 lead. Not a good day for the pen.
  • Though the Petersons pitched OK. Patrick Peterson managed to go unscored upon in 1.2 innings despite allowing four base runners, and Eric Peterson pitched five scoreless innings before running into trouble in the 13th.
  • The Noles tied it on a sac fly and Peterson, who ended up giving up two earned runs in 5.2 innings with no walks and seven strikeouts, handed the ball to Jon Olczak to preserve the tie. He could not bail a brother out; Jose Brizuela's walk off single sealed the sweep.
  • The Pack walked four and hit three for seven freebies given away, two more than the Noles gave away in a one-run loss.
  • Jameis Winston, who you may have heard of, struck out seven Pack batsmen in three innings. I hate that guy.

Come on Debbie Downer, surely you can say something positive. Right?

  • OK, but it's going to be in bullet form.
  • Brett Austin had a nice series. The backstop/outfielder was 7-for-15 with 3 runs, an RBI, and a walk.
  • Rodon DH'd in game three and went 3-for-5 with three runs scored, an RBI, and a pair of walks (one intentional). I hate the injury risk, but let's roll with this. His average is over .500 and who cares about sample size.
  • Andrew Knizner is apparently over whatever ailment kept him out of the lineup and enjoyed a FIVE HIT day in the finale. He drove in three.
  • Knizner is batting .448 with a team-high 15 RBI. Austin is up to .391 and his .475 OB% is second only to Knizner's .484.
  • Trea Turner hit his first bomb of the season to open the third game.
  • 14-5, 3-3 isn't horrible. Last year's team, Rodon included, turned it on midway through the season. I'm not worried yet but the schedule remains brutal for the foreseeable future.
  • Three of the Pack's next four ACC series are on the road (Maryland, Clemson, and Duke), and the one home slate is against Miami. And the midweek opponents during the stretch aren't slouches: East Carolina twice, pesky Elon, UNC-Wilmington, and North Carolina.

Alrighty then. Well surely the softball team fared better in Tallahassee. No, no they did not. The Pack saw their 14-game winning streak snapped with a 4-1 loss Saturday before dropping the second half of their doubleheader 4-2.

Molly Hutchinson's solo homer was the only offense in the opener; it was her seventh dinger of the season. Giving up free bases was a theme for the women as well, as Emily Weiman walked four in the loss. Lacey Waldrop only allowed one hit other than Hutchinson's bomb and didn't walk anybody.

The Pack (15-8, 6-2) managed three hits and three walks off of Waldrop in game two--an improvement, but still not enough offense. State led 2-0 with Courtney Mirabella cruising in the circle until the fourth, when the Noles got two on with one out. Shawn Rychcik called on the veteran, Weiman, to put out the fire. She did not. Weiman gave up a single to load the bases, got the second out of the inning on a strikeout, but then was touched for a game-turning granny by Maddie O'Brien. It was O'Brien's 10th bomb of the season. Weiman struck out the side in the sixth but the Pack couldn't rally.

State will try to salvage game three against the Seminoles (24-4, 5-2) and stay ahead of them in the standings in the series finale Sunday at noon.

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