Who’s the Pack playing?
Opponent: Canisius College
Mascot: Golden Griffins | School Location: Buffalo, NY | Conference: Metro Atlantic
2018 Record: 7-3 (0-0, T-1st) | 2018 RPI Rank: N/A
2017 Record: 35-22 (16-8, 2nd) | 2017 RPI Rank: 148
2016 Record: 32-27 (16-8, 2nd) | 2016 RPI Rank: 196
When? Where? How do I watch?
Location: NC State’s Doak Field at Dail Park, Raleigh, NC
Game Time: Sunday, Mar 4 @ 12:00pm
Radio: WKNC 88.1 in Raleigh
Live Stats: http://www.sidearmstats.com/ncsu/baseball/
Tell me about this team
This Canisius team is pretty good. They swept a solid Western Carolina team in Cullowhee, split their two games with Ohio State, and beat Campbell on Friday in Buies Creek.
On offense, the Golden Griffins have six regulars batting over .300 and have posted a team slash line of .289/.409/.447 with 55 BB and 22 HBP in just 10 games. However, they have struck out 97 times on the year, so there’s that bit of bad news (or good news for us State fans). They’re not big with moving on the bases, but they will pick and choose their spots for stolen base attempts to fairly decent success.
Pitching-wise, the Canisius staff has been solid even if not overly spectacular. Opponents are hitting a combined .242 against them with 82 hits registered in 89.0 IP with 85 K to suit. However, the pitching staff has walked 41 and hit another 10 batters over that span, while also surrendering 10 HR to opposing hitters. That’s a good indicator to a State team that has been working counts and sending balls over the outfield walls all early season.
Let’s take a look at some key players for Canisius...
1B Liam Wilson (RS-SR) - .326 BA, .420 OBP, .651 SLG, 43 AB, 6 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 13 R, 9 RBI, 1 BB, 9 K, 0-0 SB in 2018. Wilson is a very good hitter and a tough out. He has also been channeling his inner Jake Armstrong, having been hit by an impressive six pitches in 10 games (33 HBP for his career).
SS Conner Morro (JR) - .350 BA, .426 OBP, .425 SLG, 40 AB, 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 5 R, 10 RBI, 5 BB, 9 K, 3-4 SB in 2018. A JUCO transfer from Chattanooga State, Morro is off to a solid start to 2018. He’s a very good all-around SS.
OF Mark McKenna (JR) - .387 BA, .472 OBP, .452 SLG, 31 AB, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 6 R, 0 RBI, 4 BB, 4 K, 1-2 SB in 2018. Not much to say about McKenna. He’s not going to wow you at the plate, but he’s solid.
C William Krull (RS-SO) - .467 BA, .625 OBP, .933 SLG, 15 AB, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 R, 3 RBI, 7 BB, 3 K, 0-1 SB in 2018. Krull has a hit in all six games in which he’s appeared this year. He deserves more PT than what he’s been getting thus far. He won’t shut down opponents run game on the bases, but he’s also not going to outright hurt you behind the dish.
LHP J.P. Stevenson (SR) - 2-0, 2.25 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, .122 OBA, 12.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 14 K in 2018. Stevenson recorded wins over Ohio State and Western Carolina (in dominating fashion - 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K) to start the year. I would assume he gets the ball in this one against the Pack. He went 9-5 with a 3.65 ERA in 2017 and has made 41 starts in his career at Canisius.
LHP Jared Kennedy (JR) - 1-0, 0.66 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, .191 OBA, 13.2 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 6 BB, 14 K in 2018. The top non-closer out of the bullpen, Kennedy threw 5.0 IP and 85 pitches in relief on Friday in getting the win against Campbell. Probably not seeing him, but he’s a high quality pitcher.
RHP Will Frank (SO) - 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.43 WHIP, .071 OBA, 4.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K in 2018. Frank was solid in 2017, but has turned it up to an even better level thus far in 2018. He’s likely to be the first arm out of the pen for Canisius. Frank uses his fastball & curve combo very effectively.
RHP Carson Perkins (SO) - 0-0, 1.59 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, .200 OBA, 5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K in 2018. Perkins threw 2.2 innings Saturday in a win over Bowling Green. Doubtful that he appears in this one unless it’s a close game late.
RHP Tyler Smith (SR) - 0-0, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, .100 OBA, 3.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K in 2018. The Golden Griffins closer, he saved 11 games in 2017 and has three saves to his credit already this year. He has great stuff. In 2017 he struck out 43 batters in 29.2 innings with just 14 hits allowed.
Quick! Fun Facts!
This will be the third meeting between the two programs, with the all-time series currently tied at one game apiece.
The Canisius baseball program has only had four head coaches in the last 40 years.
After having only two players selected in the MLB Draft from 1980 to 2008, the Golden Griffins have had 14 players selected in the last nine drafts.
For those who may not know (and thank you, Wikipedia) a griffin, griffon, or gryphon “is a legendary creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion; the head and wings of an eagle; and an eagle’s talons as its front feet.” Or, you know, exactly what you remember the Birds of War being from Always Sunny:
Let’s keep this happy-go-fun-time train rolling!
State wins 8-4.