NC State and high expectations. This never doesn’t work out, right? Alas, it’s not working out for the lifeless Pack 9, a club that was ranked as high as 6th in some preseason polls. The Pack completely fell apart against their old buddy Maryland this afternoon in the Irish Classic, walking seven Terp batters in a 9-2 rout. State, which played this one at the USA Baseball Complex in Cary, has lost three in a row to fall to 5-5.
Cory Wilder set the tone by failing to retire a single one of the four batters he faced before getting the quick hook. He allowed a hit and three walks and was ultimately charged with two runs when the normally reliable Austin Staley, pressed into early duty, understandably couldn’t wiggle out of the bases-loaded, no-out jam he inherited. Staley ended up giving up three runs of his own over 3.1 innings, and the Terps ultimately opened up a 6-0 lead before State scratched.
Kent Klyman coughed up three in 3.1 innings, though two were unearned thanks to an Evan Mendoza error. Joe O’Donnell made it four for four in Pack pitchers scored upon, giving up a run in 1.1 innings.
Shane Shepard hit a solo shot and Brad Debo had a pair of hits and an RBI to account for State’s scoring.
Maryland came into the game at just 2-5, and its starter, Taylor Bloom, was 0-2 with a 14.40 ERA before handcuffing the Pack to the tune of two runs in seven innings.
The Pack lost their opener in the Irish Classic 5-2 to Rhode Island in a game they played at home. At least in this one they had the excuse of going up against Tyler Wilson, the preseason pick for A-10 pitcher of the year. Wilson allowed a pair of runs in six innings and Vitaly Jangols needed just 33 pitches for the three-inning save.
Sean Adler gave up five earned in seven innings, three coming on a bomb from Mike Corin, who drove in four. The defeat was Adler’s first in three decisions this season.
The Rams, after a 5-4 win in extra innings over Monmouth in their second game of the tournament, are 5-4 on the season. State’s 5-5 start has not exactly come against murderer’s row.
Josh McLain was a triple shy of the cycle for an otherwise punchless Pack offense against the Rams. Adding injury to insult, perhaps literally, McLain was removed from the game against Maryland after just one at-bat. No word yet as to why.
I’ve seen six or seven games thus far—there was no feed for the Maryland game, mercifully—and it seems like NC State is just going through the motions. I’ve seen a lot of emotion from opponents and barely a reaction from the red and white when someone makes a play or goes yard. I don’t know if it’s a matter of missing the leadership from last year’s club or if the players bought into the hype and expect to just toss their gloves out there and win, but Elliot Avent needs to shake things up in a hurry because his club is in freefall mode. I thought perhaps the problem was the schedule, which has lacked marquis opponents thus far, but Maryland is a power five school, so even that excuse doesn’t hold.
The excuses need to stop tomorrow. The Pack are back at the Doak at the Dail to take on something called UMASS Lowell tomorrow at 1 p.m. The game will stream on the ACC Network Extra (Watch ESPN).