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Opponent Preview: George Mason

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Meet the father of the Bill of Rights... wait... the school. Sorry... Meet the Patriots

Fordham v George Mason
Look at this thing... Just look at it!
Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: George Mason

Mascot: Patriots | School Location: Fairfax, VA | Conference: Atlantic 10

2019 Record: 8-5 (0-0, T-1st) | 2018 RPI Rank: 232

2018 Record: 29-27 (16-8, T-2nd) | 2018 RPI Rank: 174

2017 Record: 26-33 (13-11, T-6th) | 2017 RPI Rank: 192


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: BB&T Ballpark, home of the Chicago White Sox AAA-affiliate Charlotte Knights (Charlotte, NC)

Game Time(s): Wednesday, Mar 13 @ 4:00pm

TV: WatchESPN/ACCNE

Radio: WKNC 88.1 in Raleigh, GoPack All-Access

Live Stats: Sidearm Stats


Tell me about this team

First, let’s take a look at what was said about George Mason from our 2019 Season Preview:

The Patriots lose three of the their top offensive producers from a year ago. JR C/OF Logan Driscoll (.343/.407.473, 13 2B, 4 HR, 10 SB, 23:25 BB:K), SR 1B/3B Greg Popatak II (.282/.408/.497, 15 2B, 5 HR), SR 2B/SS Alejandro Aponte (.269/.354/.313, 25:20 BB:K), and RS-SR OF Brady Acker (.282/.382/.452, 7 2B, 4 HR) all return to provide a solid foundation to the lineup. SO JUCO transfer OF Cam Reckling should contend for a starting gig. On the mound, JR RHP Jared DiCesare (6-5, 1 SV, 3.33 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, .223 OBA) and SR LHP Brian Marconi (5-1, 4.70 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, .260 OBA) return the most starting experience on the team and should form two-thirds of the weekend rotation. DiCesare, for those who may remember, tossed a gem (7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 0 ER, 8 K) against NC State last year in a mid-week near-upset. SO RHPs James Price (2-0, 5.96 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, .240 OBA) and Austin Cabone (0-1, 4.76 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, .275 OBA) return to provide some depth and starting options, but both players will need to make strides in their second years if the Patriots hope to stave off a drop in performance. JR JUCO-transfer RHP James Beasley should grab innings in at least a bullpen role, if not more. FR RHP Nick Zegna and FR LHP Nate Young are two intriguing arms to watch.

2019 Projected Record: 32-24 (13-11)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: No

For George Mason, the pitching staff has been okay. The weekend rotation - consisting of DiCesare (Friday), Zegna (Saturday), and Marconi (Sunday) - have been solid, if not a bit lucky in terms of runs allowed given their high number of walks and opponent batting average. The bullpen has a few good pieces, but lacks depth.

The good news is that State shouldn’t be seeing DiCesare in this one, given that he’s the Patriots’ Friday starter. That’s a huge relief after he shut down the Pack in last year’s meeting and almost delivered the upset win.

The weak point of this team is really the offense. As a team, the Patriots are striking out 22.2% of the time they step into the batter’s box. The entire team only has one guy hitting over .240 (and they’re hitting just above the Mendoza Line as a whole)... that’s not good, Bob. And it’s not like these guys have faced a murderer’s row of opponents, either. It doesn’t help that their best hitter (RS-SR OF Brady Acker) can’t stay healthy - he hasn’t played since February 26.


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Tuesday: RHP Patrick Halligan (FR)


Key Players:

Offense

C Logan Driscoll (JR) - .240 BA, .397 OBP, .480 SLG, 50 AB, 3 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 12 R, 9 RBI, 10 BB, 10 K, 5-7 SB. Driscoll, like the entire team, is off to a cold start to the year. He slashed over .320/.400/.470 each of the last two years. Interestingly, Driscoll has five of the team’s nine stolen bases... again, he’s the catcher. He has thrown out 5-of-11 attempted base stealers on the season, although stealing bases isn’t a core component to what NC State does on offense.

3B Greg Popatak II (SR) - .239 BA, .417 OBP, .370 SLG, 46 AB, 4 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 8 R, 12 RBI, 12 BB, 17 K, 0-0 SB. Popatak started off the year hot, but has since cooled off. One thing that has not cooled off? His mustache.

CF Cam Reckling (SO) - .238 BA, .418 OBP, .238 SLG, 42 AB, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 11 R, 1 RBI, 9 BB, 6 K, 0-1 SB. The Patriots leadoff hitter, he lacks power, but does have decent wheels... although it hasn’t shown yet this year.

Pitching

RHP Patrick Halligan (FR) - 1-0, 7.88 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .313 OBA, 15.4 K%, 5.1 BB%, 8.0 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Halligan will be making his 3rd start of the season, all mid-week starts. The 6’5 freshman righty can pump a decent fastball.

RHP James Beasley (JR) - 1-0, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, .105 OBA, 22.7 K%, 9.1 BB%, 12.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 10 K. Beasley has stepped in as the Patriots closer and top bullpen arm. The kid can pitch.

RHP Stuart Barrett (FR) - 1-0, 0 SV, 1.17 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, .143 OBA, 38.1 K%, 12.5 BB%, 7.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 8 K. Another tall freshman righty, Barrett has started off his career decently well from the bullpen.


Quick! Fun Facts!

NC State leads the all-time series by a 23-4 margin, including winning last year’s match-up, 3-2.


Prediction

Despite the TBD listed for State on the mound (although I’m assuming it’s Andrew Blake), I like this match-up for State. Hopefully this is another win, but not of the one-run variety.

Outcome: Wolfpack wins 10-2