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Squandered opportunities doom Wolfpack in first loss of the year


NCAA BASEBALL: JUN 02 Div 1 Championship Greenville Regional - East Carolina v North Carolina State Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

NC State loaded the bases in each of the first three innings on Friday against Virginia, but ultimately found themselves down 3-1 heading to the bottom of the 3rd inning on the road thanks to squandering those opportunities. In the end, State dropped their first game of the season by a final score of 7-3. The Wolfpack are now 12-1 on the year and 0-1 in ACC play.

Virginia starter Griff McGarry struggled to find the strike zone early, walking eight batters and hitting another in his four innings, throwing 104 pitches. McGarry allowed just a single hit over that span, though, while striking out five Wolfpack hitters to get through those innings with just one run crossing the plate for State.

State loaded the bases with one out in each of the 1st and 2nd innings, and loaded them again in the 3rd with no outs. The run expectancy of a bases loaded and one out situation is 1.52 runs. For loading the bases with zero outs it’s 2.28. So if you take that at the most basic level, the expected total for State across the first three innings would be 5.32 runs. They got one. There’s your difference in a four-run loss.

The good news for the Wolfpack moving forward in the series is that the Cavaliers also used their top three bullpen arms (Andrew Abbott, Stephen Schoch, Blake Bales) to secure the win in this one. Each of the alliterative assistance assemblage threw over 30 pitches, so their availability for the remainder of the series should at least be limited. All told, Cavaliers pitchers threw 213 pitches on the day.

Typically when a team has to throw 60 more pitches than it’s opponent in a game, they lose. Alas. Whatever.

If you’re looking for some bright spots here it’s that against the best group of pitchers that Virginia has to offer, State managed to put 21 runners safely aboard (9 H, 11 BB, 1 HBP). Leading the way there was Austin Murr (2-4, R, 2 BB, SB), Devonte Brown (2-3, R, 2 BB), and Patrick Bailey (1-3, 2B, RBI, BB, HBP). Tyler McDonough (1B, BB, R, RBI) and Jonny Butler (1B, BB) also each reached base safely twice.

J.T. Jarrett had a pinch hit double, his (fixes_glasses) sixth double of the season, which is (blinks_furiously) second on the team. Weird times, folks.

Nic Kent (2-4, 2B, HBP, 2 SB), Zack Gelof (1-2, 2B, R, RBI, 2 BB, SF, 2 SB), and Jimmy Sullivan (1-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB) led the way at the plate for the Cavaliers. Virginia stole seven bases on the day, including a successful double steal early to score a run. State pitchers also plunked UVa hitters four times, not helping things. And State committed the only error of the day.

I’m done with this one.

Next game in the series is Saturday at 1:00pm with Nick Swiney taking the mound for State against Virginia’s Mike Vasil.