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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
3 months 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

NC State’s 2023 Baseball Schedule is Here!

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The NC State 2023 Baseball schedule is officially out!

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The Wolfpack finished the 2022 season with a 36-21 record, with a 14-15 record in ACC play, finishing 5th in the conference. NC State made it to the finals of the ACC Championship, and was criminally snubbed from appearing in the NCAA Tournament

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Dave Doeren’s Postgame Press Conference After NC State’s Loss to BC: BULLETED

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NC State Head Coach Dave Doeren met with the media for his postgame press conference tonight after NC State lost to Boston College 20-21. You can watch it here, or check out a BULLETED breakdown below.

  • I don’t know really what to say. I’m pretty down for these kids.
  • Obviously we didn’t play well enough to win. We didn’t coach well enough to win. I’ll always put that on me.
  • Turning the ball over 3 times in the 2nd half changed the game in their favor.
  • I hate it for these seniors. It’s a great group of young men. We didn’t get it done. Give Boston College some credit.
  • At the same time, we had plays there.
    • We got stuffed on 4th-and-1 on the goal line in the 1st half.
    • I thought Drake [Thomas] made a fantastic play.
      • I’m disappointed that a flag was thrown on a play like that. I thought it was a bang-bang play to win the game.
      • I don’t know how you throw that flag. It’s a really disappointing call by that official.
    • But there were other plays in the game that we could have made that it wouldn’t have come down to that, and we didn’t.
      • Other calls we could have made. It’s going to be a tough night. We’ll get back together tomorrow and regroup and work hard to finish.
  • We were 2 of 12 on 3rd down. I think that was the biggest thing.
    • They were doing a good job in coverage.
      • We had a hard time getting open. We tried to get open a couple of times down the field and gave up some sacks.
    • Their defensive end [Donovan Ezeiruaka] beat us multiple times.
    • If you turn the ball over 3 times and can’t convert on 3rd down, it’s hard to find a rhythm.
    • We were in negative-yardage situations several times in the 2nd half.
    • We did a poor job after those first 2 scores.
  • It hurts [Grant Gibson’s injury late in the 1st half].
    • Grant has played more football on this team than anybody on our roster.
    • He’s a leader. He’s a 3-time captain.
    • It hurt not having him in the middle. Dylan [McMahon] had to move inside. That’s obviously a key loss in the game.
  • I just told him [MJ Morris] that he’s going to learn a lot from this film. He’s going to learn a ton watching it tomorrow.
    • He’ll grow from it. He’ll be better as he moves forward.
    • These kinds of mistakes are going to happen with a young quarterback.
    • There were a lot of them, but not just on him. It wasn’t just things that he did.
    • There’s things that could have been done to help him more.
      • That’s a thing we’ve done really well the last 2 games. We helped him. We protected for him. We got open. We made plays.
      • It just didn’t happen tonight. He’ll definitely learn from that experience. He’ll grow from it and be better because of it.
  • They’re incredible people [this Senior class]. Incredible.
    • I love every one of them. I’m thankful that they’ve been in my life. I’m blessed to be their coach.
    • I hate that we didn’t get that win for them tonight.
    • They’ve done a ton for NC State and this program.
    • They’re going to have very successful lives because of the people that they are, not just the players. They are incredible people.
  • Obviously their quarterback [Emmett Morehead] made some key plays with his legs and his arm.
    • He gave his guys a chance to make plays.
    • He gave them a chance to win. He did turn the football over a couple of times, but we didn’t get enough points out of the turnovers that we created.
  • Obviously Zay Flowers was a difference maker.
    • He had 130 yards and 2 touchdowns. We knew he was special.

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NC State Baseball

NC State Baseball Wins 1st Scrimmage Against Duke, Ties 2nd

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NC State’s Baseball squad was supposed to play the Ontario Blue Jays tonight in a Fall Scrimmage, but the game was cancelled. As a result, the Scrimmage scheduled for tomorrow against Duke, was moved up to tonight due to Hurricane Ian.

The Wolfpack defeated the Blue Devils 5-0 in the first 7-inning scrimmage.

Old Dominion Transfer Junior Carter Trice, batting in the cleanup spot for NC State, smashed one over the Left Field wall to give the Wolfpack a 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning.

Trice was a Freshman All-American at ODU, also earning 2nd Team All-American honors, after hitting .355, 14 home runs, collecting 54 RBI’s, and posting a .426 OBP, and a .778 SLG. As a Sophomore last year, Trice earned 2nd Team All-Conference USA honors after batting .295, hitting 17 home runs and stealing 18 bases. His SLG was .755 last year.

In the 3rd inning, the Wolfpack hit two more home runs. Sophomore Shortstop Payton Green hit a solo shot, and Junior 1st Baseman LuJames Groover hit a 2-run shot.

Green added an additional RBI via a base knock in the 4th inning, giving the Wolfpack their 5th and final run of the 1st scrimmage.

Junior Oregon Transfer Rio Britton took the mound for the first two innings, and blanked the Blue Devils in both. Britton posted a 3.32 ERA in two years for the Ducks, striking out 53 in 54.1 innings, holding opponents to a batting average of .193.

Sophomore Jacob Halford was up next, and he also pitched 2 scoreless frames, followed by Freshman Dom Fritton and Junior Justin Lawson, who each pitched a scoreless frame.

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In the 2nd scrimmage, NC State trailed 3-0 in the 7th inning, but the Wolfpack didn’t give up. After Freshman Matt Heavner was hit by a pitch, Junior Texas A&M Transfer Kalae Harrison brought him home with an RBI double. Then Freshman Michael Gupton walked.

With two men on base, Freshman Isaiah Barkett brought both Harrison and Gupton home with a triple to right field, tying the game, which ultimately ended in a 3-3 tie.

Redshirt Senior Baker Nelson gave up 1 run in two innings, and Redshirt Junior Clemson Transfer P.J. Labriola, Freshman Andrew Shaffner, Sophomore Carson Kelly, and Junior John Miralia all saw action as well from the mound.

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Four of the Top 5 players in NC have committed to play for NC State Baseball in 2024

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With the recent commitment of Anderson Nance, NC State has now secured commitments from 4 of the top 5 players in the state North Carolina for the 2024 class.

Nance, who committed on Friday, was the biggest get. He was ranked #1 overall and possesses a low to mid-90s fastball and plus secondary pitches. He projects to be a front-line starter at some point in his career.

They also have a commitment from the #2 player in the state, Drake Purvis, who is a 6’0, 175lb lefty who can get his fastball into the 90s.

The #3 player in the state for 2024 is Truitt Manuel, a 6’2, 195lb RHP/OF who is also a star football player for Hendersonville.

The #5 player in the state is another RPH named Kaden Morris, who is a monster at 6’8, 220lbs. Morris committed in mid-August.

As you can see, NC State baseball is putting together a class of elite pitching prospects for 2024, all of whom come from North Carolina.

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