June 1, 2003


Wolfpack continues magical ride


By Sean Ryan

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

#9; WILSON, N.C. - North Carolina State has been one of the big surprises this season in college baseball.


#9; After going only 7-17 in the ACC in last year's 33-26 year, the Wolfpack is two wins from Omaha.


#9; "I think we've known it longer than most people," said Colt Morton when asked when it appeared State might be in for something big.


#9; Coach Elliott Avent said he knew something was up when the Pack won 16 straight games from Feb. 28 to March 22, two of which came against Florida State.


#9; "The way we won those 16 games," Avent said.


#9; The Wolfpack hit an incredible .338 as a team last year but had an ERA of 5.85. This year's squad was hitting .285 with a 4.03 ERA entering yesterday. For the most part, it's been a five-man rotation for N.C. State, with others stepping in to plug the holes at times.


#9; Sunday's final provided the biggest stage, and two of the Pack's lesser-used arms were super. Brandon Shipwash and Collin Brown, each with ERAs over 6, combined to throw six innings of two-hit ball with six strikeouts.


#9; "I know everybody's been talking about how we've been getting it done with three or four guys," Avent said. "If you look at our staff, that's not true. Brandon Shipwash and Collin Brown today, what an effort they gave."




#9; Morton was named the Regional's most valuable player after hitting two homers against Virginia Commonwealth in a 4-3 win and launching the game-winner in the Wolfpack's 6-4 thriller over Western Carolina.


#9; Joining Morton on the all tourney team were teammates Justin Riley at first base, Joe Gaetti in the outfield and Michael Rogers on the mound. The Catamounts placed four on the team - second baseman Todd Roper, third baseman Chris Davis, outfielder Rod Goldston and pitcher Brandon McDowell. VCU catcher Jeff Parrish made the team as a designated hitter, and Le Moyne shortstop Anthony Aquilino and outfielder Jeff Justice rounded out the team.




#9; Quoting them:


#9; WCU coach Todd Raleigh on his team's effort: "I don't think umpires, I don't know if fans, I don't know if reporters, maybe you do, maybe you don't. You put as much into it as these guys and I do, it's tough. I don't know if people realize that, what these kids do. The don't get any money. They just play. They just come out and play. And that's what I'm most proud of."

#9; N.C. State shortstop Chad Orvella on the play at the plate in the seventh inning: "It was basically a do-or-die situation. I just caught it and let go of it. Thank God Cole was able there to block the plate and put a tag down."


#9; N.C. State winning pitcher Collin Brown: "I just wanted to go out and put zeroes on the board. I've never experienced a 14th-inning stretch before."



#9; Brown was up and down in the bullpen.


#9; "Really, I didn't know if I was going to go in," Brown said.


#9; The message from the dugout was that he would go in if the game was tied, but when State put runners on base and it looked like it might score, Brown would sit and Joey Devine would get loose.


#9; "Deep down, I was really hoping it'd end up being me," Brown said. "So I could get out there and just hold them there."




#9; After Derrick Hawk walked Gaetti, Catamounts coach Todd Raleigh came out to get him after eight superb innings. The majority of the pro-N.C. State crowd gave Hawk a standing ovation for his effort.




#9; WCU had a chance for a big inning taken away in the third inning.


#9; The Catamounts had two men on with Alan Beck at the plate. Todd Roper, who had walked, broke to steal third, while Wayne Kilmer, who was hit by a pitch, stayed at first on a pitch to Beck.


#9; Beck lined a bullet to second baseman Adam Hargrave, who got a glove on the ball but couldn't squeeze it and possibly start a triple play. Hargrave regrouped, grabbed the ball, touched second and fired to first, where David Hicks had to come off the bag and try to make a tag on Beck. First-base umpire Rick Darby called Beck safe, ruling that Hicks had come off the bag and apparently not seeing him tag Beck. After a brief discussion with plate umpire David Rogers and second-base umpire Scott Cline, Beck was called out.


#9; "With a four-man crew, you rarely ever see them reverse because of the fact that you don't have to because you're standing right there," Raleigh said. "…I've never seen that turned over like that. But I'm sure they got the call right."




#9; North Carolina State saw double twice over the weekend.


#9; The Wolfpack faced VCU twin brothers Sean and Brian Marshall on Saturday, then got the chance to see WCU twins Seth and Ryan Foster on Sunday. The Marshalls both throw lefty, and the Fosters throw righty, with Ryan being a sidewinder.




#9; Stats


#9; *N.C. State pitchers allowed 16 hits in 33 innings in the regional.


#9; *VCU allowed six runs in three games, going 1-2.


#9; *Le Moyne was called for seven balks. The Dolphins had 11 hits in two games. Eight balks were called over the weekend.


#9; *There were two one-hitters involving VCU and WCU. Justin Orenduff and Brian Marshall combined for a one-hitter to open the tourney, and Brandon McDowell tossed a one-hitter Saturday to eliminate the Rams.


#9; *N.C. State had to work extra twice, beating VCU 4-3 in 10 innings and WCU 6-4 in 14 innings.