Where do we start?
It was a huge day of sportsball (and sports without a ball) for N.C. State. Tyler’s got you covered on hoops, which we’ll call the main event since, well, we won! Yay, winning. (Not to mention it was a revenue sport, nationally televised on ESPN, and had huge NCAA tournament implications.) Alas, the win by the men was not the only basketball game against Louisville, as the women squared off in the ACC tournament as well. That one could have turned out better.
But what about your stream-only sports? So much was going on, including baseball putting up three touchdowns (wut?) against Campbell, wrestling underwhelming in the conference championship tournament, and softball having an unfortunate afternoon. Let’s start with the good from the above…
The Pack Nine pounded out 23 hits in a 21-4 win over the visiting Camels. Nine of those hits went for extra bases, including five more home runs. I’m running out of synonyms for home run; that’s 26 in 11 games. That’s pretty good.
And then there is great. Evan Edwards went 4-for-4 with a pair of bombs, couple of walks, four runs scored, and five RBI. That’s pretty much my entire senior season in high school in one game. I’m lying. I only had one home run. Anyway, Edwards is triple slashing .542/.686/1.208. I just looked at that for 11 minutes before I was able to type anything else. I know State’s non-conference schedule is trash, but that line is impossible in batting practice.
Hey Brett Kinneman entered the weekend leading the nation in homers and RBI, so he’s pretty good too I reckon. Kinneman went 3-for-6 with a double, homer, and two RBI. He scored thrice. Kinneman’s triple slash line: .480/.518/1.100.
And we have a freshman catcher by the name of Patrick Bailey who might be pretty good. He merely drove in six runs on a 3-for-5 afternoon. He needed a double to hit for the cycle. Bailey’s triple slash line: .417/.483/.917. Oh, and he switch hits.
If there was a not bright spot on the afternoon, it was Johnny Piedmonte’s rough outing. The Lake Norman Needle lasted just three-plus innings and was tagged for three runs. Sketchy outings from Brian Brown Friday (though he battled through his command issues to get the win) and Piedmonte (who still hasn’t lost in two seasons, so there’s that) is not what you want from your senior weekend starters as ACC plays creeps closer.
Nick Swiney picked up Piedmonte with three innings of shutout relief. The freshman lefty allowed just one hit, didn’t walk anybody, and fanned four to earn his first collegiate win. Swiney has a 1.69 ERA in 10.2 innings so far with an impressive 15-to-2 K-to-BB ratio.
State looks to continue the offensive onslaught tomorrow at noon against Canisius.
The Pack’s men of the mat won the head-to-head battle in duals against conference rival Virginia Tech to win what is the basketball equivalent of the regular season title, but they couldn’t take the conference tournament after Kevin Jack, a two-time conference champion, and Michael Boykin, the #2 seed at heavyweight, were upset.
Jack was ahead late in the last period, but gave up a fall that sent the bout into overtime, where he lost in sudden death to Virginia Tech’s Brent Moore. He’d beaten Moore in a 15-0 technical fall in their previous bout. Sports are weird.
The one weight class where the Hokies are weak is at heavyweight, but Boykin was upset in the final seconds of regulation in the semifinals and couldn’t get to the title bout, costing the Pack some much-needed points.
It wasn’t all bad news, as three Pack wrestlers brought home ACC titles. Sean Fausz took the gold at 125 pounds, Hayden Hidlay did so at 157, and Pete Renda avenged a duals loss against Hokie Zack Zavatsky to get the gold at 184. Hidlay, a freshman, enters the NCAA tournament having never tasted defeat at the college level. He’s the only undefeated freshman in the country. Renda won 4-0 after scoring the bout’s lone takedown and riding out Zavastsky for the entire third period.
State was still mathematically in it at 197, where Michael Macchiavello needed to score a pin over Tech’s Jared Haught to secure a State win. That was quite a tall order, as Haught was not only the #1 seed for the tournament, but also the nation’s #1 ranked wrestler in the weight class. Macchiavello is no slouch at #3 in the nation, but he fell in double overtime to wrap it up for Virginia Tech.
The Hokies finished the competition with 81 points; the Pack tallied 73. State snapped Tech’s 18-match win streak in ACC duals competition but couldn’t wrestle the tournament title way. Still, State will send nine wrestlers to the NCAA tournament.
The ladies are much improved after last season’s disastrous 18-38 season, but fell to 12-6 and 1-1 in the ACC after falling flat in a 9-1 loss to Pittsburgh. Timberlyn Shurbutt’s team-leading fourth home run of the season accounted for State’s lone score. The Pack have struggled to get consistent pitching efforts behind Coastal Carolina transfer Devin Wallace, who is 7-3 with a 1.74 ERA.
The good news is that Wallace, who shutout the Panthers Friday, will likely return to the circle as State goes for the series win Sunday at noon.
The 16th-ranked Pack men’s tennis team lost for the first time all season, falling to 9-1 after a 4-1 loss on the road to #20 Texas. State won the doubles point but were swept in singles, including a disappointing upset loss for #16 singles player Alexis Galarneau.
UNC blew a double-digit lead and lost to Duke to fall all the way to 6th in the ACC standings, one spot behind NC State. Kevin Keatts is a winner.