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Too Many Walks (Among Other Things)

Offensively, NC State has improved compared to the very low standard set last season.  In conference play, State ranks 5th in runs scored, 7th in batting average, 6th in on-base percentage, and 8th in slugging percentage.  Those numbers are middling across the board, but they would be good enough to allow for a reasonably successful season if...the pitching weren't so bad.

NCSU Pitching ERA OppAvg OppOBP OppSLG OppOPS K/9 BB/9 K/BB HR/9 RA/9
'09 Overall 4.90 .266 .356 .378 .734 8.6 4.1 2.1 .60 6.2
'09 Conf-Only 5.36 .277 .373 .394 .767 7.7 4.6 1.7 .64 6.9
'10 Overall 5.34 .273 .376 .392 .768 7.3 4.9 1.5 .58 6.4
'10 Conf-Only 5.88 .288 .387 .417 .804 7.3 5.2 1.4 .67 7.2

(Note: Since I can't find the full-season '09 stats on GoPack, this is the best I could do.  That omits three conference games and one non-conference game.)

The staff's persistent problem is its ballooning walk rate, which has climbed north of 5.0 in league play.  The Friday/Saturday guys--Buchanan and Mazzoni--have been decent enough in terms of their walk rates, but the bullpen has been a disaster.  No better evidence of this than last Friday when the bullpen walked eight guys in 2 & 1/3 innings.  It also appears as though Avent doesn't have a lot of relievers he trusts.  Buchanan threw 132 pitches Friday (which is dangerous and inexcusable, no matter the bullpen situation), while Mazzoni threw 118 on Saturday.  A Wolfpack reliever threw 50+ pitches on both days.

Thanks largely to the staff's issues, the team is in a position where it needs to take five of six from Maryland and Boston College in order to break .500 in ACC play.  Which is doable, I guess, though nobody will be mistaking those wins for quality wins.

I don't think the Pack has enough arms to win the ACC tournament, and right now, it looks like that's what they're going to have to do in order to get back to the NCAAs.