NC State's five game winning streak on the diamond came to an end at the hands of Richmond last night, but the Pack have no time to rest as Friday they enter a crucial series with Wake Forest, which will go a long way in settling their ACC tournament fate. It's no secret that this season hasn't been what fans or the team expected, but lately they have started to play better. There is still work to do, but the Pack still has a chance at postseason baseball, which is more than fans could ask for after the disastrous middle of the season. To keep myself from crying or stressing out over tournament scenarios, I have chosen to continue my trend of looking at some of the more positive aspects of the current baseball season.
Two players that have helped keep the Pack 9 alive are twin pitchers Eric and Patrick Peterson, a combination the NC State Baseball Twitter account has affectionately named "Repeterson." The twins transferred to NC State from Temple when it was announced that Temple was planning to cut their baseball program after the 2014 season. The fact that the program was being cut waived the one year sitting period, giving them instant eligibility. This provided much needed rotation and bullpen help to a team that lost several key contributors from last year's pitching staff. Patrick and Eric are third and fourth in innings pitched with 48 1-3 and 45 respectively. The value of these innings cannot be overstated given the inconsistency of the pitching staff this season.
Eric is the right-handed twin and has been the better pitcher this season. He throws with a slight "three quarters" delivery, featuring a fastball that can reach the low 90s, a breaking ball he uses to strikeout right handed hitters, and a change-up he uses to strikeout left handed batters. Eric has made 16 appearances, all in relief, and sports a 2.40 ERA. In several appearances, he has provided multiple innings after the Pack's starting pitcher was forced out of the game early. I like to call him a "super reliever" due to his versatility. This Saturday against Coastal Carolina was one of his best outings of the season; he threw 4 1-3 shutout innings, striking out nine batters and cementing a 9-2 win. Eric's strikeouts per nine innings are down slightly from his sophomore season at Temple, but he has lowered his walks per nine. This has resulted in a tremendous strikeout to walk ratio of 6.75 to 1.
The other Peterson, Patrick, is a left-handed pitcher, and while he has not performed as well as his brother, he has still had a solid season. He and Eric have similar repertoires. Patrick has a fastball that can reach 90 mph, an effective breaking ball when he is throwing it for strikes, and a change-up he uses to attack right handed batters. Patrick has made 12 appearances this season, nine of them being starts. He has compiled a 3.35 ERA and finally gives the Wolfpack another reliable weekend starting pitcher. He sometimes struggles with control, which results in too many walks, but for the most part, he has been able to pitch his way out of tough situations.
These two are surpassing expectations and providing valuable innings to a team that has struggled to find consistency in all areas. I can only imagine how dire the current situation would be without their efforts. If NC State is going to close the season strong and give themselves a chance of making the ACC tournament, the twins are going to have to continue to pitch well. If they end up returning for their senior seasons, I imagine they would be under serious consideration for weekend rotation spots. However, there is a high chance they could be taken during this year's MLB draft and elect to begin their professional careers. If this season is the last we see of the twins, it was a pleasure to watch them, and I know they will represent NC State baseball proudly at the next level.