Who’s the Pack playing?
Opponent: East Carolina
Mascot: Freebootin’ Scurvy Dogs | School Location: G-Vegas, NC | Conference: AAC
2022 Record: 24-17 (8-4, T-1st) | 2022 RPI Rank: 52
2021 Record: 44-17 (20-8, 1st) | 2021 RPI Rank: 13
2020 Record: 13-4 (0-0, T-1st) | 2020 RPI Rank: 5
When? Where? How do I watch?
Location: Doak Field at Dail Park (Raleigh, NC)
Game Time: Tues, Apr 26 @ 7:00pm
TV: ACC Network (Tuesday)
Radio: The Varsity Network (Tuesday)
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Tell me about this team
NC State and East Carolina played in Greenville back on March 29th (here’s the preview for that game) with the Wolfpack securing a 2-0 victory. That game seems a lot further away than a month ago, what with State’s bats heating up and the pitching staff and defense not resembling anything remotely close to a unit that could pitch a shutout today. Still, State has posted a 9-5 record since their encounter with the Pirates. Hardly a sky-is-falling indicator.
Since the meeting in March, East Carolina has gone a similar 10-5. It’s hardly been a murderer’s row of opponents during that stretch and the Pirates have struggled against the better group of them, securing just a 1-3 record against RPI Top 100 teams (although they did post a road sweep of RPI #102 Central Florida).
The good news for the Pirates: After Tuesday’s game against NC State, only five of their last 14 games will be against teams in the RPI Top 100, and only one against a team ranked higher than 75 (a midweek game against #74 Campbell). The bad news: ECU is likely in a scenario where they have to win the American Athletic Conference (regular season and/or tournament) to make an NCAA Regional. Those aren’t easy seas to sail.
Unlike the Wolfpack, however, the Pirates have defense and pitching as a strength. Six times in their ten games ECU has held their opponent to three or fewer runs. They’ve committed just five errors in that span.
Despite the lack of a great resume and a bona fide ace, this is still a dangerous team. Back before the season started, this seemed like a late season matchup of a pair of Super Regional level teams with legit Omaha aspirations. That may no longer be the case, but these are both superb Regional-caliber teams - and this is exactly the type of midweek matchup you want late in the year to get you battle tested for the postseason.
Who’s on the mound for these guys?
Tuesday: RHP Josh Grosz (SO)
LF Lane Hoover (JR) - .366/.452/.431, 10 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 35 R, 21 RBI, 22 BB, 12 K, 2 HBP, 9-15 SB. Continues to be the sparkplug for the offense. Has posted six multi-hit games since the last time the Pack and Pirates squared off.
SS Zach Agnos (SO) - .298/.380/.404, 6 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 26 R, 21 RBI, 19 BB, 38 K, 3 HBP, 4-4 SB. Has now fully taken over the shortstop roll for the Pirates with Ryder Giles moving to a weekend rotation role.
RF/DH Jacob Jenkins-Cowart (FR) - .358/.384/.582, 4 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 26 R, 34 RBI, 7 BB, 30 K, 1 HBP, 2-3 SB. On his way to joining Tommy White on a slew of Freshman All-American teams.
3B/OF Alec Makarewicz (SR) - .289/.356/.484, 10 2B, 0 3B, 7 HR, 34 R, 32 RBI, 16 BB, 47 K, 2 HBP, 2-3 SB. I mentioned his woeful K:BB ratio last time, and while he immediately got better for a stretch (2:7 over the seven games after and including the last matchup with State), he’s been off the wagon again in the nine games since (4:17). Still a dangerous hitter.
CF Bryson Worrell (SR) - .287/.357/.476, 6 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 29 R, 23 RBI, 16 BB, 36 K, 3 HBP, 5-5 SB. Has been on a tear lately, currently riding a seven game hitting streak with multiple hits in five of those. He’s hit four home runs over that span.
RHP Josh Grosz (SO) - 2-4, 0 SV, 5.89 ERA, 36.2 IP, 37 H, 13 BB, 39 K. Part-time starter for ECU with mixed results. They’ll usually let him ride when he does start as he’s thrown 50+ pitches in each of his six starts (out of 14 total appearances) and has thrown as many as 80 pitches in a single outing. Grosz is a 6’4 righty with a long stride that allows his fastball to play up even higher than the low-to-mid 90’s velo it has. Mixes in a changeup and slider.
LHP C.J. Mayhue (SO) - 3-1, 1 SV, 3.69 ERA, 31.2 IP, 29 H, 10 BB, 38 K. Still the best relief arm the team has and the team’s go-to in must-get-out-of-it jams. He’s been used as an opener more of late, including in three of the last four midweek games and on Saturday at Tulane. Threw just 30 pitches in that outing, so you can bet he’ll pitch in this one.
RHP Zach Agnos (SO) - 1-0, 0 SV, 3.00 ERA, 9.0 IP, 5 H, 5 BB, 9 K. Yes, the starting shortstop. He’s a two-way player whose older brother, Jake, was a stud pitcher for the Pirates from 2017-2019 and a 4th round pick of the Yankees after his junior year. The younger Agnos is known more for his bat and defense, but he’s been getting more run as a pitcher lately, including four straight scoreless outings.
RHP Trey Yesavage (FR) - 0-0, 2 SV, 3.27 ERA, 11.0 IP, 12 H, 11 BB, 20 K. Aside from having a great name, he’s got wicked stuff... when he’s locating it. Used more situationally and for very short outings, he can be unhittable when he’s on.
Quick! Fun Facts!
NC State will not play a game outside of the State of North Carolina from here until a potential NCAA Regional.
The Wolfpack lead the all-time series between the two schools, 69-41. The two schools have split the last eight meetings.
ECU won the 1961 NAIA National Championship shortly before jumping to the NCAA Division I ranks in 1965.
Despite being so close to each other, there won’t be a lot of Pirates making a hometown appearance on Tuesday. Only three ECU players played their prep ball in the Raleigh area (FR RHP Jaden Winder, FR C Ryan McCrystal, and SO C Justin Wilcoxen).
With limited opportunities remaining for resume builders, ECU’s likely to not hold anyone back in this one - with the exception of Carter Spivey, the AAC Pitcher of the Week last week who threw 7.1 innings on Saturday (3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K). Their bats are getting hotter, albeit against weaker competition, but the pitching and defense play anywhere.
Outcome: NC State got out of Greenville with a win, and the Pirates return the favor in Raleigh.