Back during March Madness, Wolfpack nation was poised for perhaps the greatest turn of events since 1983. The Pack had a shot to beat Kansas, then dismantle an injury-riddled, ACC-refless, Swahili-class-faking Tarheel squad on its way to the final four. Despite predicting such a turn of events in my NCAA bracket (no small wonder I didn't finish very high in the BTP contest), this pleasant scenario did not come to pass. Perhaps it's a good thing, as I had already pretty much decided to kill myself after it happened due to the certainty that life could never again approach that level of greatness.
Though the stakes are less great, Pack faithful find themselves in a similar position this evening, as the Pack Nine have a chance to not only topple their chief rival, but to also earn a shot at the conference title in the process. Not much is at stake for Carowhina, as it can only play the role of spoiler. Pack wins, they're in; UNX wins and Miami plays for all the marbles. Additionally, State has saved its ace, Carlos Rodon, for this contest. Things are certain to turn out in the Pack's favor, right? Continue below the jump to see why Lee Corso would utter his "not so fast" catch phrase, if you dare.
Rodon, at 9-0 with a 1.59 ERA, is as close to automatic as it comes, but he is a freshman who has worked 96 innings this season, and he is coming off a 9-walk performance against FSU. It's possible that he has hit the wall at the worst possible time. Also, UNX managed 3 runs, albeit only 1 earned, in Rodon's 6.2 innings against them earlier this year. They managed 7 hits and 2 walks, so it's not a forgone conclusion that Los shuts them down.
Additionally, UNX's pitching staff is just ridiculously stingy (2.60 team ERA) and will be facing a Pack team that hasn't exactly lit up the scoreboard of late, managing just 10 runs in their last 4 games. Benton Moss (6-2, 2.13) is expected to toe the rubber for the Heels. He's third in the league in ERA. Hobbs Johnson (oh the fun you can have with that name) is also expected to get some work in. Dude's 4-0 with an ERA under 1 in his last 4 starts.
With little to play for but bragging rights, we can hope the Heels roll over, but in all likelihood the Pack is going to be in for a dogfight, and that's before you even factor in #ncstateshit. Here's to hoping that Anthony Tzamtzis' dozen rally caps is enough to get us through, and that we're all moderately sober enough to remember it tomorrow.