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ACC Tournament Opponent Preview: Pittsburgh

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Meet the Panthers... wait, again already?!

COLLEGE BASEBALL: MAY 23 ACC Baseball Championship - North Carolina v Pittsburgh Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: Pittsburgh

Mascot: Ferocious Kittens | School Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Conference: ACC

2021 Record: 23-19 (16-17, T-5th Coastal) | 2021 RPI Rank: 45

2020 Record: 10-6 (0-3, T-6th Coastal) | 2020 RPI Rank: 147

2019 Record: 21-34 (8-22, 7th Coastal) | 2019 RPI Rank: 193


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: Truist Field (Charlotte, NC)

Game Time(s): Thurs, May 27 @ 7:00pm

TV: RSN / ACC Network Extra / WatchESPN

Radio: TuneIn App

Live Stats: Stat Broadcast


Tell me about this team

Alright, so this preview’s going to be a little different than normal. Why? Because State just played these dudes two weeks ago. Here are some links to catch you up on that series:

Series Preview | Game 1 Recap (3-2 W) | Game 2 Recap (9-7 W) | Game 3 Recap (10-3 W)

So what’s going on with Pitt since the last time these teams met? Well, coming into the series between the Pack and the Panthers, Pitt had just won three straight ACC series and sat at 2nd place in the Coastal Division, with a firm shot at taking over the top spot.

State put a squash on that real quick, sweeping the Panthers, and then Wake Forest followed suit the following weekend, issuing their own sweep of Pitt. The downward spiral was in full force and it seemed like maybe they would completely go in the tank.

But then the ACC Tournament started, and the Panthers totally redeemed themselves in a manner all NC State fans will appreciate: They beat UNC. Not only did they saddle UNC with a loss, they effectively eliminated the Tar Heels from tournament.

Damn, Panthers. I love thee so.


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Thursday: RHP Matt Gilbertson (JR)


Key Players:

Offense

3B Sky Duff (SO) - .363/.460/.525, 18 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 34 R, 19 RBI, 24 BB, 47 K, 2-4 SB. On a 12-game hitting streak, during which he’s batting .500 (23-for-46). Earned 3rd Team All-ACC honors this year, but he was 100% robbed. This is the guy who should have been the 1st Team All-ACC third baseman.

RF Nico Popa (SR) - .314/384/.503, 6 2B, 9 HR, 33 R, 28 RBI, 13 BB, 57 K, 12-14 SB. Five-game hitting streak going on that started with the final game of the State series. Earned 3rd Team All-ACC honors this year.

DH Ron Washington, Jr. (JR) - .293/.348/.479, 7 2B, 8 HR, 27 R, 28 RBI, 16 BB, 46 K, 2-3 SB. Drove in 3 runs in their ACC Tournament win against UNC, including a critical 2-run 8th inning homer.

2B David Yanni (rSR) - .248/.412/.603, 12 2B, 1 3B, 12 HR, 28 R, 32 RBI, 31 BB, 47 K, 2-2 SB. Earned 3rd Team All-ACC honors this year, a nice recognition and finish to the career for a dude who has poured his heart and soul into the program over the last six years.

Pitching

RHP Matt Gilbertson (JR) - 6-4, 4.62 ERA, 76.0 IP, 86 H, 17 BB, 62 K. His ERA has jumped over a full point from where it was two weekends ago. Went 6.0 IP against State back on May 15th, but gave up 5 runs (all earned) on 10 hits with 1 BB and 5 K.

RHP Jordan McCrum (SR) - 2-1, 6 SV, 4.20 ERA, 30.0 IP, 22 H, 20 BB, 35 K. Yeah, I absolutely jinxed this dude in my last preview. In his two appearances immediately after, he gave up 9 earned runs in 3.1 IP. He did shut down UNC over 2.0 IP to earn the save Tuesday. And for that, we thank you.

RHP Chris Gomez (SR) - 2-0, 0 SV, 2.27 ERA, 31.2 IP, 29 H, 7 BB, 21 K. Tossed 4.0 IP of shutout ball vs Wake Forest last weekend.

RHP Chase Smith (JR) - 2-2, 1 SV, 26.1 IP, 30 H, 13 BB, 23 K. Workhorse arm leads the team in appearances with 26. Threw 2.1 IP (allowed 1 run) vs UNC on Tuesday, but he’s appeared multiple times in ACC series eight times this year, so they’ll go to him if needed.


Quick! Fun Facts!

NC State leads the all-time series with Pitt, 12-1.

This is the first ACC Tournament meeting between the two schools.


Prediction

State will be sending Reid Johnston to the mound in this de facto elimination game.

Outcome: This is the postseason, baby. No predictions.