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Opponent Preview: Towson

Meet the Tigers... Not a very good baseball team.

NCAA Football: Towson at Maryland Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: Towson

Mascot: Tigers | School Location: Towson, Cancer | Conference: Colonial

2019 Record: 3-13 (0-0, T-1st) | 2018 RPI Rank: 259

2018 Record: 13-42 (6-18, 8th) | 2018 RPI Rank: 273

2017 Record: 20-34 (6-18, 9th) | 2017 RPI Rank: 246


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: Doak Field at Dail Park (Raleigh, NC)

Game Time(s): Tuesday, Mar 19 @ 6:00pm

TV: ACC Network Extra (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 Towson from our 2019 Season Preview:

The bad news for Towson’s lineup? Of the ten players who logged more than 100 PAs last year, only three return. The good news? On a 13-42 team, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Really only one of those guys was outstanding. The Tigers return Charlotte native RS-SO 2B/SS Dirk Masters (.229/.357/.250, 27:29 BB:K), SR 3B Richard Miller (.225/.298/.444, 8 2B, 7 HR), and SR C Trey Martinez (.196/.297/.250, 6 2B), but as you can see from those numbers, aside from Miller’s power, that’s not very promising. There are more returnees on the pitching staff, but it’s not looking much better. The Tigers lose their top two starting pitchers from a year ago, including one of only two guys on the entire team to post a sub-5.00 ERA on the year. SR RHPs Dean Stramara (2-1, 1 SV, 3.94 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, .305 OBA) and Gavin Weyman (0-7, 1 SV, 5.33 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, .274 OBA) are the top two returning arms. Towson needs help, y’all, and to try and combat that they’ve brought in 11 freshman and 10 transfers. That’s 21 new faces on a roster of 35. Of those new faces, grad transfer SR 3B Zach Piazza should be the best. 6’7 FR RHP Dallas Repine should be a good pitcher down the line. Interesting note: Joe Flacco’s younger brother Tom, a RS-JR OF transfer from Rutgers and the Towson Football team’s starting QB, is on the roster, but dude hasn’t played baseball since high school, so they probably shouldn’t expect much from him.

2019 Projected Record: 18-38 (7-17)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: No

Towson Head Coach Matt Tyner is in his second season of a rebuild at a program that hasn’t finished over .500 since 2009. It’s not going very well so far. Towson hasn’t been very competitive thus far (only two of their 13 losses have been by less than three runs), and one of their more winnable series (a three game set against RPI #231 Lehigh) got cancelled due to weather.

As a team, Towson is slashing just .213/.281/.313 with 32 walks versus 138 strikeouts (not good). They only have five players hitting above the Mendoza Line, and nobody close to crossing the .300 threshold.

Walks are the major issue for the Towson pitching staff, both for the starting rotation and the bullpen. 101 walks issued in 134.0 innings is... uhh... well, not very good at all. The starting pitching was leaps and bounds better this past weekend. Over four games, the four starting pitchers went a combined 25.1 IP, 18 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 9 BB, 22 K. That’s an excellent level of productivity. We won’t talk about what the bullpen did after those guys, though...

Defensively, the team has an .949 fielding percentage (not good, 287th in the nation), and doesn’t do much to stop opponents from running the bases on them (opponents have been successful on 25-of-30 stolen base attempts).


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Tuesday: RHP Matt Watters (RS-SO)


Key Players:

Offense

CF Javon Fields (FR) - .286 BA, .344 OBP, .375 SLG, 56 AB, 3 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 8 R, 1 RBI, 4 BB, 13 K, 5-6 SB. The 6’1 freshman lead-off hitter is a bright spot for the future of the program. He can’t do it all for the Tigers, but he has potential (and some serious wheels) and should lock down center field for them for the next four years.

1B Brad Powers (JR) - .267 BA, .343 OBP, .450 SLG, 60 AB, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 5 R, 9 RBI, 3 BB, 13 K, 0-0 SB. Powers is a JUCO transfer with some pop in his bat (he slugged .500 his sophomore year in JUCO). The 6’5, 220 pounder is currently on a five-game hitting streak, with multiple hits in four of those games.

LF/RF Tom Flacco (RS-JR) - .250 BA, .295 OBP, .275 SLG, 40 AB, 1 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 7 R, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 8 K, 2-2 SB. Flacco is the Tigers’ two-hole hitter and the younger brother of NFL QB Joe Flacco. Tom Flacco was actually the #1 rated outfielder in the state of New Jersey coming out of high school and was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 32nd round of the 2014 MLB Draft. He chose instead to pursue football and went to Western Michigan. After two seasons as a back-up QB, when then-Head Coach P.J. Fleck left for Minnesota following the 2016 season, Flacco transferred to Rutgers (we all make mistakes). After spending a redshirt season with the Scarlet Knights, Flacco got the hell out of Dodge and transferred to Towson where he finished 5th in the FCS in passing yards and 5th in voting for the Walter Payton Award (the FCS version of the Heisman Trophy) as a redshirt junior in 2018. For shits and giggles (and maybe to see if he could rekindle some pro prospects in another sport), Flacco picked back up baseball this year after having not played in almost five years. Baseball is probably the hardest sport to pick back up after a long time of not playing. After a hot start, he’s cooled off, going 0-for-16 in his last five games. He

3B Zach Piazza (SR) - .241 BA, .338 OBP, .379 SLG, 58 AB, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 R, 10 RBI, 4 BB, 13 K, 1-1 SB. Three-hole hitter and former ACC player. Piazza is a graduate transfer from D-II Limestone College (Gaffney, SC), where he was a two-time 2nd Team All-Conference selection (he was granted a medical redshirt in 2016 after playing in 10 games) as a first baseman. He led Limestone last year with a .333/.443/.639 slash line with 11 2B and 15 HR after slashing .345/.432/.730 with 11 2B and 18 HR as a sophomore. Began his career at ACC member Wake Forest where he redshirted in 2014 and was a reserve in 2015 (.158/.238/.263, 2 2B in 21 PA).

Pitching

RHP Matt Watters (RS-SO) - 0-1, 2.45 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, .231 OBA, 29.1 K%, 16.3 BB%, 11.0 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 3 ER, 9 BB, 16 K. Watters is one of Towson’s top relief arms and will be making his first career start. Started out his career at Stetson, before transferring with his older brother Charlie (now a student assistant with the team) to Towson. Went 0-2 with a 8.51 ERA and 2.38 WHIP last year over 24.1 IP. Control has been - and still is - an issue for Watters.

LHP Austin Weber (JR) - 1-0, 0 SV, 2.53 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, .250 OBA, 18.5 K%, 14.8 BB%, 10.2 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 8 BB, 10 K. Weber is a JUCO arm that has quickly become the top lefty bullpen guy for this team.

LHP David Tiskevics (JR) - 0-0, 1 SV, 3.38 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, .278 OBA, 23.1 K%, 11.5 BB%, 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K. Another JUCO lefty, Tiskevics has flashed some potential and should get more innings going forward.


Quick! Fun Facts!

NC State JR RHP Jason Parker earned ACC Pitcher of the Week honors after his 7 inning, 10 strikeout performance against Florida State.

The Wolfpack are ranked #1 in the latest Collegiate Baseball rankings, marking the first time in program history that NC State has been ranked as the top team in the nation.

The home contest carries an ‘Alliteration Affair’ theme, which will perfectly please our own Omega.

NC State is 8-0 all-time against Towson.


Prediction

This should be a pretty one-sided affair, with a patient NC State hitting attack going against a pitching staff that throws out walks like a kid with a pocket full of pennies at a mall water fountain. The Goateed Goat Cheese (JR RHP Mathieu Gauthier) gets the start for the Wolfpack. He’ll do well.

Outcome: NC State wins 12-3.