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NC State falls behind early, loses to Charlotte, 9-8; take on NC A&T Wednesday

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That was a bad loss, no matter how you look at it... Also: Meet the Aggies!

NC State vs. Rice Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Not really going to dwell too much on this one. It’s baseball, and bad games happen (just ask Coastal Carolina).

But, geez, was that a bad loss. Getting handed a pair of losses at Virginia is one thing, but this is not a Good Charlotte team. And maybe that’s fitting. A bad reference to a bad band for a badly played game.

It was a constant game of catch-up for State, which they did manage to do successfully twice, but a lead evaded them for the entirety of the game and this one they’ll look back on as a “how?” game for the rest of the year.

Takeaways!

The Bad:

  • Losing to Charlotte
  • Giving up a five-spot in the 2nd inning on just three hits
  • State continues to struggle hitting with men on base (9 LOB in this one after a weekend full of them)
  • The defense was just bad, and Vojtech Mensik had a really rough day at 3rd

The Good:

  • Jose Torres: 2-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI
  • Luca Tresh: 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, HBP
  • Coming back to tie the game twice, including erasing a five run deficit
  • David Harrison looked a lot better (2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K) after his disastrous start at Virginia

Okay, enough of that. No time to dwell on the loss with another game starting in less than 24 hours against...



Opponent Preview: NC A&T

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: North Carolina A&T

Mascot: Agriculture Enthusiasts | School Location: Greensboro, NC | Conference: MEAC

2020 Record: 7-8 (0-0, T-1st) | 2020 RPI Rank: 262

2019 Record: 29-24 (16-8, 1st Southern) | 2019 RPI Rank: 194

2018 Record: 32-25 (16-8*, 1st Southern) | 2018 RPI Rank: 210

*2018 MEAC Tournament Champions


When? Where? How do I watch?

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

Game Time(s): Wednesday, Mar 11 @ 6:00 pm

TV: ACCNX/WatchESPN (Wednesday)

Radio: TuneIn App, GoPack (Wednesday)

Live Stats: Sidearm Stats


Tell me about this team

I hate to do this again, but on a short turnaround the preseason article can be very helpful:

NC A&T has to replace their best hitter and pitcher, but should still be a threat to win the MEAC in 2020. SR INF Dustin Baber (.328/.402/.436, 15 2B, 2 HR, 22:20 BB:K, 13-18 SB), rJR INF Zach McLean (.241/.278/.402, 8 2B, 6 HR), rSR C Ryne Stanley (.265/.385/.325, 6 2B, 1 HR), SR OF Camden Williamson (.258/.321/.384, 7 2B, 4 HR, 12:13 BB:K). SO C Scott Meitzler (.462/.563/.923, 3 2B, 1 HR) produced really well when given the opportunity to finally play late last year. JUCO transfers JR OF Justin Rodriguez and rJR Alex Bibb will help fill out the lineup. Among the freshmen, INF Keith Taylor and OF Kyras Dawson should contribute early. The Aggies return two of three weekend starters in SR RHPs Michael Johnson (4-5, 3.22 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 81.0 IP, 46 K) and Evan Gates (4-4, 1 SV, 4.05 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 66.2 IP, 65 K). JR LHP Ethan Chavis (2-2, 2.98 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 57.1 IP, 34 K) should slide into the open weekend rotation spot while SR RHP Leon Davidson (5-0, 4 SV, 0.67 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 40.1 IP, 26 K) will front a rebuilt bullpen. Winston-Salem State transfer SR Cole Parks will provide a quality arm that may well grab a weekend rotation job and JUCO transfer JR RHP Timothy Davila should help add depth to the bullpen.

2020 Projected Record: 23-28 (13-8)

This will be A&T’s fourth game against ACC competition, and they hold a 2-1 mark already with both wins coming over Boston College (2-1, 8-5) and the loss coming at UNC in a midweek game. Last week’s midweek contest saw the Aggies beat Elon on a walk-off walk in the bottom of the 9th.

Bottom line: this is not a team to be taken lightly.

The last three years under Ben Hall have been pretty fantastic with the Aggies posting a combined 47-25 MEAC record and winning their division twice, with a MEAC tournament title to boot. The team has also finished better than 200th in RPI twice in that span. Since 2000, that has only happened a total of four times, so things are obviously looking way up. Hall has built himself a MEAC power.

This year’s team isn’t hitting for as much power as any of the last three editions of the Aggies have, but they’re finding ways on base with a patient approach that’s earning them just shy of five walks per game (almost two walks more per game better than any of the prior three years). They’re also willing to play small ball when needed, with nine different hitters accounting for the team’s 16 sacrifice bunts.

The pitching has been overall great. The Aggies have three starters (Michael Johnson, Ethan Chavis, Cole Parks) who are dependable and pitching at a high level, and two relievers (Evan Gates, Leon Davidson) who have been lights out. If that pitching maintains, this is going to be your MEAC Champion.


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Wednesday: TBA


Key Players:

The One Hitter You Need To Know

RF Camden Williamson (SR) - .333/.451/.474, 57 AB, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 11 R, 8 RBI, 10 BB, 8 K, 2-3 SB. Has always had a good eye and made good contact at the plate, but the balls in play are actually falling at an average rate this year so the numbers are going up. Tough out. Has two of the team’s three home runs.

Dangerous Danny With The Bat

SS Dustin Baber (SR) - .258/.356/.306, 62 AB, 3 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 10 R, 11 RBI, 10 BB, 6 K, 2-2 SB. Leadoff hitter and top returning hitter from a year ago. Has better wheels than the SB totals would tell you, and has better power than the XBH totals would lead you to believe. Like Williamson, has a great eye and tremendous contact skills.

The One Pitcher You Need To Know

RHP Evan Gates (SR) - 1-1, 2 SV, 1.38 ERA/0.77 WHIP/.125 OBA, 13.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 23 K. Kinda like yesterday, without a defined starter, I’m going to look at the top two bullpen arms. Former JUCO transfer has transitioned from a weekend starter last year to the closer this year - with outstanding early results. A drop-and-drive pitcher, the relief role allows his stuff to play up.

The Bullpen Arm To Watch

RHP Leon Davidson (SR) - 1-0, 0 SV, 2.19/0.81/.189, 12.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 12 K. I feel like I’ve been talking about Davidson forever now, but maybe that just speaks to how good he’s been - last year, especially. Despite the high K/9 this year, he’s not really a strikeout pitcher. He’s not going to blow you away, but he’s consistent and can hit his spots.


Quick! Fun Facts!

Running short on time... sorry, folks.


Prediction

State has looked like garbage in three of the last four games. I would love to say that ends emphatically, but it’s hard to believe right now.

Outcome: NC State eeks out a win, 6-5.