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Former Pack star Knizner needs to step up if he wants the Cardinals catching job next year

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Andrew Knizner was a career .300 hitter for NC State (2014-16). He also was seen as an elite backstop, with a strong arm and the ability to manage a pro pitching staff.

These are the reasons that the St. Louis Cardinals traded their other prospects at catcher and settled on Andrew Knizner as the eventual heir to Yadi Molina’s throne.

Molina has spent 18 years with the Cardinals and is destined for the Hall of Fame, but he’s made it clear that this year is his last. That means that St. Louis needs to start prepping the next man up.

That next man has been Knizner all season long. When Molina has gone down with injuries, its been Knizner who has stepped in. However, in the small sample size, the former Wolfpacker hasn’t shown much offensively.

Knizner is batting just .221 with 1 home run in his 190 plate appearances. And while Yadi is only batting .219 with 2 homers himself, he’s also 40 years old and one of the top defensive catchers in the game (still).

Knizner is going to get more opportunities down the stretch. The Cardinals are 5 games up in the central and a likely lock for the post-season. That means that they are going to have an incentive to rest Molina for the playoffs.

This could be Andrew Knizner’s last chance to prove he’s up for the task of replacing Molina next season. If he can get hot and regain the form he showed in the minor leagues, then its likely that St. Louis won’t make a move for a catcher in the offseason. But if he continues to flounder at the plate, there’s no guarantees.

Here is Cardinals coach Oliver Marmol talking about Knizner’s struggles:

In his 5+ seasons in the minors, Knizner batted .303 with a little pop. Add that to the fact that he’s always been a good defensive catcher, and you can see why they were so high on him. But it’s been over 3 years now and Knizner is hitting just .205 in the majors for his career.

Usually, when a prospect comes up from AAA, you can expect their major league ceiling to be their minor league average, especially for an experienced prospect drafted out of college. Their average can be expected to fall up to 30 points due to the quality of pitching they are seeing on a nightly basis.

Knizner’s .100 point drop from AAA to the majors lets you know that something is off. He’s had multiple seasons to get used to major league pitching, but he’s failed to make the adjustment. Now he comes into his age 28 season, a year where most players hit their statistical peak. It’s time he either adjust or be passed over.

Will having his back against the wall push Knizner to elevate his offense? We hope so, because if not, the once promising back stop could be destined for a career back-up role (at best), or head back to the minor leagues (at worst).

Keep an eye on him this final month of the season and let’s hope the former Pack star can turn things around.

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gigi debe
gigi debe
1 year ago

Whoaaa! Whoever wrote this article needs to be given a Wolfpack ass whooping! This article is full of inaccurate stats, derogatory statements, and seems more like an attempt to to defame Knizner than to truly depict performance of one of NC States best professional athletes! . I am sure that Coach Avent and Coach Hall would not be happy that someone writing for the Pack Insider actually put this trash out there, too. Anyone ACTUALLY following Knizner and the Cardinals team would know that the video of Coach Marmol talking about Knizner was only a snippet taken from a post… Read more »

Knizner stats august 26 2022.JPG

NC State Baseball

Duke Defeats NC State 8-1, Knocking the Wolfpack out of the 2024 ACC Tournament

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#3 seed NC State fell to Duke this evening 8-1, and as a result, the Wolfpack have been knocked out of the 2024 ACC Baseball Tournament. NC State entered the conference tournament as one of the hottest teams in the country, but they simply couldn’t muster any offense this evening.

Sam Highfill was flawless through the first 4 innings, but the Senior gave up 2 Home Runs in the 5th, with one of them being a Grand Slam.

The Blue Devils pitching staff shut down a Wolfpack offense that scored 19 runs last night against Virginia Tech, holding NC State to 1 run on 5 hits. Junior Catcher Jacob Cozart provided the Wolfpack with their only RBI of the evening.

Unfortunately, despite a ton of momentum, NC State is still left wanting, failing to win an ACC Championship since 1992.

 

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1st Baseman Garrett Pennington Has Broken Into NC State’s Record Books

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Last night, Senior 1st Baseman Garrett Pennington hit 3 Doubles, giving him 23 Doubles on the season, which ranks 8th in NC State history for Doubles in a single season.

1. 31 – Brian Ward, 1998
2. 27 – Matt Postell, 1999
3. 26 – Brian Wright, 2002
4. 25 – Chris Diaz, 2012
4. 25 – Scott Snead, 1991
6. 24 – David Hicks, 2002
6. 24 – Tim Tracey, 1994
8. 24 – Garrett Pennington, 2024
8. 23 – Dallas Poulk, 2010
8. 23 – Jake Weber 1997
8. 23 – Paul Borawski 1991

The Wolfpack hit it big in the Transfer Portal this past offseason, with two of them breaking NC State records. Pennington broke into the Top-10 in Doubles, and Senior 3rd Baseman Alec Makarewicz broke into the Top-10 in Home Runs.

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NC State Crushes Virginia Tech 19-9 in Their Opening Game of 2024 ACC Tournament

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#3 seed NC State’s bats were simmering in their opening game of the 2024 ACC Tournament, defeating #10 seed Virginia Tech 19-9, with the game ending at the end of the 8th inning due to a mercy rule. The 19 runs are the most runs scored this season by the Pack, and the most in school history in the ACC Tournament.

Freshman Ryan Marohn, the Pack’s regular midweek starter, got the nod, and he was excellent, giving up 1 earned run in 4 innings pitched, striking out 4. With Marohn pitching in the first game, NC State will be able to roll out their starting 3 all the way to the Championship game if need be. Also, Jaxon Lucas, P.J. Labriola and Hollis Fanning came out of the bullpen, preserving the arms of the Wolfpack’s primary relief arms.

NC State recorded 20 hits in the contest, and also walked 9 times. Senior 3rd Team All-ACC 1st Baseman Garrett Pennington and Senior 2nd Team All-ACC 3rd Baseman Alec Makerwicz both finished with 4 hits in the contest. Pennington was 4 for 5 with 4 Runs and 2 RBI’s, with an absurd 3 Doubles. A-Mak was 4 for 4 with 4 Runs and 4 RBI’s, as well as a Double and 2 Walks.

Junior Shortstop Brandon Butterworth and Sophomore Center Fielder Eli Serrano III both had 3 hits in the contest. Butterworth was 3 for 5, with 2 Runs and 2 RBI’s, hitting a Home Run in the Top of the 8th. Serrano III was 3 for 5 with 2 RBI’s and 4 Runs, hitting a Home Run as well.

Freshman Alex Sosa led the squad with 5 RBI’s, going 2 for 4, with a Home Run, 2 Walks and 2 Runs.

Junior 1st Team All-ACC Catcher Jacob Cozart was 2 for 5 with 2 RBI’s, 1 Run and 1 Walk.

NC State will play #6 seed Duke tomorrow night at 7pm on ACC Network. Technically, the Wolfpack could have lost this evening, and still advanced to the semifinals. After the Blue Devils defeated the Hokies 11-8 in their first game last night, all the Wolfpack need to do to advance to the semifinals is defeat Duke tomorrow night.

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NC State Picks Up the Most Votes in D1Baseball’s Staff Poll to Win the 2024 ACC Tournament

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D1Baseball’s staff each individually picked which team they thought would win each College Baseball Conference Tournament this week. Of the 11 staff polled, 4 picked NC State to win the ACC Championship this upcoming Sunday, which was the most votes any team in the ACC received. UNC and UVA each picked up two votes. Wake Forest, Duke and Clemson each received a vote as well.

NC State is the #3 seed in the ACC Tournament, and they will play their first game tonight in pool play against #10 seed Virginia Tech at 7pm on ACC Network., who lost 8-11 to #6 seed Duke last night. The Wolfpack will then play the Blue Devils tomorrow night at 7pm on ACC Network. The team with the best record coming out of pool of three teams will advance to the semi finals on Saturday.

 

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The Wolfpack are looking to win their first ACC Championship since 1992, and their 5th overall.

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