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NC State’s Joe O’Donnell Named to Stopper of the Year Preseason Watch List

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RALEIGH, N.C. – Following a stellar 2017 campaign, NC State baseball’s Joe O’Donnell has been named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year Preseason Watch List, announced Monday by the organization.

The award is given annually to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball.

O’Donnell made 25 appearances on the mound last season, all in relief, to compile a perfect 4-0 record. His team-high seven saves tied for the sixth most by any pitcher in the ACC last season.

The Wilmington, N.C., native struck out 59 batters in just 48.1 innings pitched to average more than a strikeout per inning. O’Donnell only allowed eight extra-base hits and held opposing batters to a .211 batting average.

O’Donnell was lights out for the Wolfpack down the stretch, as he did not allow a run in 12.1 innings pitched from late April to mid-May to nail down six saves during that stretch.

The redshirt senior is one of seven players from the ACC represented on the list, which is the second most from any conference.

O’Donnell is the first NC State player to be named to the watch list since 2012 when Chris Overman was recognized by the NCBWA.

NC State opens the 2018 season at home on Feb. 16 against Seton Hall with first pitch slated for 3 p.m.

2018 NC State baseball season tickets are now on sale and can be found on GoPack.com/Pack9Tickets.

NC State Baseball

NC State Beats Bucknell 12-8, Completing Opening Season Sweep

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RALEIGH, N.C. – Headlined by three home runs, including the first career homer and grand slam from junior Lawson McArthur, No. 21 NC State baseball powered past Bucknell, 12-8, Sunday afternoon to complete the series sweep.

The Wolfpack scored seven runs in the seventh inning, which are the most in an inning since March 3, 2018 against Campbell. The win marked the first time that the Pack has swept a season-opening series since 2010 against LaSalle.

Junior Kent Klyman picked up the win (1-0) on the mound and redshirt sophomore Dalton Feeney came on in the ninth to secure the save. Bucknell’s Tyler Wincig was charged with the loss.

NC State moves to 3-0 on the weekend, while Bucknell falls to 0-3.

Avent’s Additions
“I’m just so proud of our guys,” said head coach Elliott Avent. “We’ve been very fortunate with the weather we’ve had this spring and today might have been the coldest and the field was wet, damp.

“The guys didn’t treat this game as an 11 o’clock game on a Sunday morning, I felt they were ready to play. It’s a good thing they were because Bucknell certainly was. I thought their starting pitcher was outstanding. A lot of teams would get down trailing 7-4 in the seventh inning, but I am really proud of this club battling back.”

On Lawson McArthur
“I’m just really happy for him. He’s been behind some really good outfielders in Brock DeatherageJosh McLain and Brett Kinneman. He got a big hit at a big time for us. It was great for him because he made a big-time play yesterday in right field. When your confidence is going well, then things seem to work out good for you.”

Quick Hits
– The Wolfpack pushed across four runs in the bottom of the second, as the squad scored first in all three games of the series.
– Terrell Tatum had an RBI single in the frame and Vojtech Mensik tripled to right field to bring in two more runs for the Pack.
– A single from Jonny Butler scored Mensik, as NC State grabbed a 4-0 lead.
– Bucknell answered with three runs in the third thanks to a pair of RBI singles from JohnPaul Bell and Jack Schuler.
– After both teams were held scoreless in the fourth through the sixth innings, the seventh inning saw 11 runs scored.
– The Bison took its first lead of the series with four runs in the top of the inning, but it was short-lived as the Wolfpack responded with seven runs in the bottom half.
– Evan Edwards sparked the rally with his second home run of the season, a solo shot over the right field wall.
– Brad Debo contributed an RBI single to narrow the margin to 7-6.
– Following a David Vazquez walk to load the bases, McArthur crushed a 2-2 pitch from Wincig over the right field fence for his first career round-tripper and grand slam.
– Edwards drove in his second run of the inning with a single up the middle to push NC State’s advantage to 11-7.
– Tyler McDonough also notched his first collegiate home run with a blast to right field in the eighth to make it 12-7.
– Bucknell got a run back in the ninth, but Feeney entered the game and induced a flyout to center field to end the game.

Quoting McArthur
“I was just having fun out there, keeping my attitude up, and staying involved in the game. Watching every other at-bat to see what they were throwing to righties and lefties. I had a feeling with the bases loaded that he was going to throw me some off-speed pitches, which he did early in the count. I got in to a good count and managed to snag a fastball up in the zone and took advantage of it.

“My eyes got huge as soon as I saw that fastball up in the zone because I knew I could do something good with it.”

Inside the Box Score
– NC State did not commit an error and finished the weekend without a miscue on defense.
– Mensik turned in a 3-for-5 outing at the plate with two RBI and two runs, while McDonough was 2-for-4 with three runs and an RBI.
– Edwards and Tatum also tallied multi-hit games.

On the Mound
– Nick Swiney started on the mound for the Wolfpack and pitched 2.2 innings before handing the ball to Reid Johnston.
– Johnston tossed three shutout innings and departed the game inline to earn the win before a rally from Bucknell.
– Andrew Blake made his NC State debut on the mound and Klyman took over for him, throwing 2.1 innings to pick up the win.

On Deck
NC State will hit the road for its next five games, starting with a midweek game at Elon Tuesday afternoon. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. at Latham Park.

Box Score

(PhotoCredit: GoPack)

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#21 NC State Beats Bucknell 14-2, Clinches Opening Series

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RALEIGH, N.C. – The 21st-ranked NC State baseball team scored in seven of its eight plate appearances en route to a 14-2 victory against Bucknell Saturday afternoon at Doak Field at Dail Park to clinch the series.

The Wolfpack has now won 13 consecutive non-conference series dating back to the 2011 season.

Junior Alec Barger picked up the win (1-0) with three shutout innings of relief in his Wolfpack debut, after transferring into the program from Polk State Community College. Bucknell starter Jack Grabek was charged with the loss (0-1), allowing seven earned runs in 3.1 innings.

NC State moves to 2-0 on the year, while Bucknell falls to 0-2.

Avent’s Additions
“I’m really proud of our players today,” said head coach Elliott Avent. “They didn’t know what time we were going to play and were sitting around, but I thought we came out ready to play.

“We really played well today and came out ready to play, which is a testament to our guys. I’m really proud of the way they handled the situation. We only walked two guys today, we didn’t walk anybody yesterday, and didn’t make any errors yesterday and none today, which is impressive on a day like today.”

Quick Hits
– Jonny Butler ignited the Wolfpack offense with a leadoff triple on the first pitch from Bucknell’s Grabek to deep right center.
– Will Wilson followed with a home run to right field, his first of the season and 24th of his career, as NC State grabbed a 2-0 lead.
– In the second inning, Butler doubled to bring in a pair of runs and push the Wolfpack advantage to 4-0.
– The Pack capitalized on three errors by the Bison in the third to grab a 6-0 lead.
– Bucknell pushed across a pair of runs in the top of the fourth to trim the margin, but NC State answered in the bottom half of the frame.
– Patrick Bailey ripped a two-RBI triple to right field and later scored on a single from Evan Edwards to make it 9-2.
– Wilson drove in his third run of the day in the fifth and Vojtech Mensik collected the first two RBI of his Wolfpack career in the sixth on a single to left field, stretching the lead to 12-2.
– Tyler McDonough lined a single to center field to score Terrell Tatum from second base and an error by the Bison allowed the Wolfpack’s 14th run of the day to score in the bottom of the seventh.

Inside the Box Score
– NC State scored in each of the first seven innings.
– Five different players recorded a multi-hit game for the Wolfpack in a 12-hit outing.
– Wilson was 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored, while Butler was 2-for-4 with two RBI and a pair of runs.
– Mensik turned in a 2-for-4 showing with two RBI and scored twice.
– McDonough and Tatum were both 2-for-3 with a run scored and the former added an RBI.
– Bailey and Edwards each had one hit in the contest.

On the Mound
– Sophomore transfer Canaan Silver started on the mound for the Wolfpack and pitched four innings, yielding two earned runs on five hits with three strikeouts.
– Barger took over for him and threw three shutout innings to pick up his first win in an NC State uniform.
– Redshirt freshman Cameron Cotter made his collegiate debut with a pair of shutout, hitless innings.
– Wolfpack pitchers threw just 113 pitches in the contest, 75 of which were strikes, a 66.4 percentage strike rate.

On Deck
In an effort to avoid potential inclement weather, Sunday’s series finale has been moved up to an 11 a.m. first pitch at Doak Field at Dail Park.

Box Score

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#21 NC State Defeats Bucknell 8-2 in Season Opener

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RALEIGH, N.C. – Headlined by a 3-for-4 performance from senior first baseman Evan Edwards, who finished a single shy of hitting for the cycle, the 21st-ranked NC State baseball team earned an 8-2 victory against Bucknell Friday afternoon at Doak Field at Dail Park.

The Wolfpack collected nine hits on the day, while limiting the Bison to six and the NC State pitching staff did not issue a walk.

Junior Jason Parker earned the start on the mound and pitched five innings to earn the win (1-0). In his first appearance for the Pack after transferring from Louisburg College, Parker struck out four batters and allowed four hits. Bucknell starter Jack Gottesman was charged with the loss (0-1).

Avent’s Additions

“I’m really pleased with how we played today,” said head coach Elliott Avent. “We didn’t walk anybody, and we didn’t make any errors. If you can go through college baseball and not walk anybody or make errors, then you’re going to have a chance to be in some ballgames.”

“Evan [Edwards] set the tone for us in the first inning with a big home run and that kind of set the tone and I thought we had really good at-bats all the way through the game.”

 Quick Hits

– NC State plated a pair of runs in its first plate appearance of the season thanks to a two-run homer from Evan Edwards in the bottom of the first.

– Sophomore Jonny Butler led off with a walk and scored on Edwards’ home run to center field to give the Wolfpack a 2-0 lead.

– Bucknell trimmed the margin to 2-1 in the top of the third after an RBI single from Evan Madigan.

– The Pack answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame after a single from Patrick Bailey to plate Will Wilson, who led off the inning with a double down the left field line to make it 3-1.

– Edwards followed with a triple off the wall in right center, scoring Bailey and J.T. Jarrett drew a walk with the bases loaded to push across the final run of the frame.

– In the sixth, Brad Debo dropped an RBI single into center field and later scored on an error to make it 7-1 in favor of NC State.

– A sacrifice fly from Tyler McDonough drove in the final run of the game for the Wolfpack, as Marek Chlup walked to start the inning and came around to score.

– Bucknell added a run in the top of the ninth on an RBI single from JohnPaul Bell to push the score to the final tally of 8-2.

Inside the Box Score

– NC State had its leadoff batter reach in each of the first four innings and in six of eight plate appearances, while Bucknell only had its leadoff batter reach three times.

– Edwards led all players in the contest with three hits – a home run, triple and a double. He finished a single shy of becoming the first Wolfpack player to hit for the cycle since Ryan Pond in 2006.

– Wilson also had a multi-hit outing and scored a run, while Thayer Thomas recorded a single in his first collegiate at-bat.

– Bailey, Debo and Terrell Tatum had one hit apiece in the contest.

On the Mound

– Wolfpack pitchers struck out seven batters and did not walk a batter.

– After Parker, redshirt sophomore Dalton Feeney entered the game and pitched two hitless innings, striking out four of the six batters he faced.

– Freshman Baker Nelson made his collegiate debut with an inning before giving way to David Harrison.

– Nolan Clenney came on to get the final two outs of the game, picking up a strikeout with two runners on before a popup to Bailey in foul territory to end it.

On Deck

NC State and Bucknell will return to the field for the game two of the series Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Doak Field at Dail Park.

(Photo Credit: GoPack)

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Baseball America Predicts NC State’s Will Wilson to Win ACC Player of the Year

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Baseball America released their preseason ACC predictions and awards this week, and NC State Junior Shortstop Will Wilson is their preseason pick to win the 2019 ACC Player of the Year Award.

Player of the Year: Will Wilson, SS, North Carolina State

The best pure hitter in the ACC, Wilson hit. 303 over his first two years with the Wolfpack, and he showed last year that he packs plenty of power into a smaller frame with 15 home runs. Clemson shortstop Logan Davidson also homered 15 times and is another strong candidate for this award, though Wilson’s track record of hitting trumps Davidson’s and makes him the safer pick. Scouts rave about Wilson’s off-the-field makeup and baseball instincts, but what stands out the most is his innate feel for putting the barrel on the ball and making adjustments at the plate. Wilson has improved defensively and brings reliable hands and enough arm strength for shortstop, but his lack of quickness could move him to second base at the next level. He’s got more than enough defensive ability to handle the position at the college level, however. (BA)

They project the Wolfpack to finish 4th in the Atlantic Division, and make the NCAA Tournament once again this year. Here’s what they had to say about the Pack.

North Carolina State: The Wolfpack return a number of important pieces to a lineup that helped push them to a 41-28 record last season, most notably shortstop Will Wilson. Outside of Wilson’s impact bat, NC State returns catcher Patrick Bailey, who hit .321/.419/.604 with 13 home runs during his freshman campaign. Bailey’s defensive ability matches or exceeds his skill with a bat, and he ranks as the top defensive catcher in the league with excellent receiving, blocking and throwing ability as well as a knack for handling the pitching staff. Speaking of which, NC State believes the 2019 team will have the most pitching depth the program has had since 2013 during the Carlos Rodon years. While the Wolfpack doesn’t have that caliber of arm, righthander Reid Johnston returns from last year’s weekend rotation after posting a 3.06 ERA over 64.1 innings, while junior college transfer righthander Alec Barger can run his fastball into the mid-90s and has improved his off-speed offerings during the fall. Additionally, NC State brings back 6-foot-7 lefthander Kent Klyman, who posted a 2.34 ERA out of the bullpen with 67 strikeouts in 61.2 innings of work. Klyman could be used in the rotation this season, but head coach Elliot Avent also has lefthander Canaan Silver—another junior college transfer—who throws a four-pitch arsenal for strikes consistently. (BA)

They also project that Wilson is the #2 2019 MLB Draft prospect, and that Sophomore Catcher Patrick Bailey is the #2 prospect in the ACC for the 2020 MLB Draft.

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