The NC State baseball team is continuing ACC play with a trip to Boston College for a three-game series April 9-11. The Wolfpack is currently not having the season it expected but has gone 5-0 away from Doak Field.
The Wolfpack (10-11, 5-10 ACC) and the Eagles (14-13, 4-11 ACC) are separated by just one game in the ACC standings. This weekend, one team could move up the conference standings with a series win.
In its most recent ACC series last weekend, Boston College took game one but then lost back-to-back one-run games to Virginia Tech on the road to give away the series. The Eagles responded with a nonconference win at Northeastern Tuesday night.
Pitching will be a big deciding factor this weekend, as NC State and Boston College rank 13th and 14th, respectively, in the conference in team ERA. Whichever bullpen can make the fewest mistakes late in the game will likely take this series.
On the mound, the Eagles have three arms who have done a majority of the weekend starting all year long. Friday night, look for RHP Mason Pelio to take the bump; he has a 6.06 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 35.2 innings pitched.
During his freshman year in 2019, Pelio went 7.2 innings pitched, allowing just two hits and one earned run while striking out seven against the Wolfpack.
The other two arms the Wolfpack will likely see starting this weekend are RHP Emmet Sheehan and RHP Alex Stiegler. Sheehan has a 4.50 ERA, and in his outing against Virginia Tech last week, he struck out 12 batters in 6.1 innings pitched allowing just one earned run. Stiegler has a 6.03 ERA, with his best outing of the season coming against UNC-Chapel Hill where he pitched five shutout innings while striking out eight batters.
Offensively for Boston College, it collectively hits .277 with four batters averaging over .300. Leading the way is Sal Frelick, with an average of .368. Frelick leads the conference at 43 hits.
Batting .330 for the Eagles is Luke Gold. He is without a doubt the top slugger in their lineup, leading the team with eight home runs and 31 RBIs. The 31 RBI’s put Gold at third place in the ACC.
The two other players who have averages above .300 are Vince Cimini and Dante Baldelli, who carry averages of .328 and and .314, respectively.
NC State seems to have found its three-man rotation in recent weeks with junior right-handed pitcher Reid Johnston and freshman right-handed pitchers Sam Highfill and Matt Willadsen. The Wolfpack needs to pitch like it did in the UNC-Chapel Hill series, where they were a huge part of NC State’s success. With Johnston throwing a complete game and Willadsen closing game two and starting game three, the Pack only had to throw one other arm the whole series.
Reigning Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week junior first baseman Austin Murr will look to continue to rake with his batting average currently at .358. Sophomore center fielder Tyler McDonough is also looking to stay hot at the top of the lineup for NC State, as he is tied with Murr with 29 hits to lead the team.
Game one from Boston College is scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday. The game will be televised on the ACC Network.