May 23, 2003


CBI Live
Cretarolo shuts down Yellow Jackets
Lefty leads N.C. State to winners' bracket final

By Sean Ryan Co-Founder

SALEM, Va. – The last person Georgia Tech would have expected to face in its winners’ bracket game with North Carolina State at the ACC Tournament was Nate Cretarolo.


Not only did Cretarolo enter with a 4-3 record and a 5.71 ERA – the lowest among Wolfpack starters – but he also didn’t have any luck against the Yellow Jackets. In five previous innings against Tech, the junior lefty from Cherry Hill, N.J., was 0-1 with 14 runs (13 earned).




Cretarolo stymied Georgia Tech’s potent bats all evening, taking advantage of several great plays to toss a six-hit shutout and put N.C. State (41-14) into the winners’ bracket final against North Carolina with his 6-0 gem at wet and soggy Memorial Stadium. The Yellow Jackets (40-16) were shut out for the first time since last year’s ACC tourney and will play Duke in an elimination game.


“Nate Cretarolo was outstanding,” Wolfpack coach Elliott Avent said. “Georgia Tech, obviously being one of the best teams in the country…and to shut them out in a game of this importance is pretty amazing.”


Cretarolo (5-3) walked only one and struck out six one week after losing to the Yellow Jackets 9-6.


“I felt relaxed tonight, and I had command of all my pitches…,” he said. “Also last week, I walked a lot of guys, and you can’t win when you walk everyone. This outing in particular, I was in more control of my pitches.”


Said Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall: “He threw three pitches for strikes and moved his fastball around on us a lot.”


For Avent and his coaching staff, the decision to start Cretarolo made the most sense, even with 11-0 Vern Sterry waiting in the wings.


“We thought that Nate was a good matchup for Georgia Tech,” Avent said. “And basically a good matchup for anybody when he throws strikes.”


Meanwhile, the Wolfpack posted a zip-code game – scoring runs in five straight innings – by scoring 1, 1, 2, 1 and 1 (for those playing at home, 11211 is Brooklyn, N.Y.) from the third to eighth innings. Most of the damage came against Tech ace Kyle Bakker (8-2), who allowed 10 hits and five earned runs in five innings.


Eight N.C. State batters had at least one hit, with Matt Camp, Jeremy Dutton, Colt Morton and Marc Maynor notching two hits apiece.


“Most of it was fight,” said Morton, whose double plated a run in the two-run fifth. “This team’s got so much fight in it right now…We’re going to give it everything we’ve got. If you can beat us, you have to be pretty good.”


To make matters worse for Tech, State was more than pretty good on defense. Maynor made a Willie Mays-type catch, robbing Tyler Greene of a hit to center. He also made a sliding catch to end the game in style. Shortstop Chad Orvella’s diving stop up the middle to rob Steven Blackwood was spectacular.