Thursday, May 24, 2007

Liveblog! NC State vs. UNC

[7:09PM] And we wait. The UVA/GT game is in the bottom of the 8th and could end up in extras, and I assume there will be an intermission between games. I'll be back when we're ready to go.

[8:24PM] The liveblog could be doomed. The game was supposed to start at 8:20, but it's raining and the tarp is down. They're waiting for a cell to pass through between 8:30 and 9:00 and then they'll make a decision.

[9:45PM] Game on! First pitch is scheduled for 10:05. I don't know that I'll be able to make it all the way through (unless we have a speedy pitchers' duel...or someone's starting Mark Buehrle), but we'll see.

[10:04PM] Mike Hogewood! Dan Bonner! It's like it's February again! Sit back, relax, and strap it down. Wolfpack baseball is around the corner. Probably.

Carolina's uniforms, I should note, are hideous. Black + Carolina blue = I don't know, but it's not good.

[Top 1st] What is the sound of twelve people clapping? We are about to find out. It's electric, baby. The lights, I mean.

Reid Fronk hits the first pitch of the game into the corner for a double. Dammit.
I barely have an opportunity to note that Fronk has been plonked by 17 pitches his season.

Second man up flies out to center, runner holds. F8.

Dustin Ackley singles up the middle, Reid Plonk scores with ease.

State's shortstop moves toward second to cover the bag, batter hits the ball right to where he had been standing, so it's through for a single. Runners at the corners with one out.

Okay, that's more like it. Double play ball, 6-4-3. Inning over, Heels strand two. Sure, they're winning, but we're better-dressed. Despite the difficulties, Surkamp didn't throw a lot of pitches.

[Bottom 1st] Dallas Poulk (.380/.417/.500) will lead it off for the Pack. The Heels' pitcher--Robert Woodard--is showing off his blue socks, but they just don't work with those black jerseys. Although, what would?

Poulk starts us off with a walk.

Pat Ferguson nails one to the gap in left center, Poulk scores without a problem. Tie ball game.

Pond is the third man up and he strikes out. But that's okay--he's still awesome (hitting .333/.478/.538 on the year).

Corona goes down on a nice breaking ball; two out. Ferguson on second.

The home plate is brown because of the stuff they put on the dirt to fight the moisture. You can hardly make it out from the standard behind-the-pitcher camera angle. I wonder how much that bothers the pitchers and/or umpire. Jeremy Synan grounds out to first and that's the inning.

[Top 2nd] Oh, good, the rain is back.

Chad Flack is leading off for UNC, and wow is he having a terrible year: .243/.299/.381. Yikes. He tries to check it up on a 1-2 pitch but can't do it; one out. First K for Surkamp.

Curses. Surkamp served up a cookie and it was lined back up the middle. Four hits for the Heels in a couple of innings. Kyle Seager just had the ball graze his helmet, so he's on. That's Kyle's first HBP of the year; Reid Plonk scoffs in your general direction, Kyle.

Two on, one out. Carolina batter hits a fly ball to foul territory in left, but Matt Payne can't grab it. He should've had it, so that hurts. The Heels batter makes an out anyway, but the runner at second advances. Men on the corners.

Plonk nails another first pitch to right field; Carolina goes up 2-1. Men still on the corners.

Next man up grounds out to Surkamp, ending the inning.

[Bottom 2nd] Marcus Jones singles up the middle, and then Caleb Mangum bunts the ball right back to Woodard who gets Jones at second. We narrowly avoid a double play. Please tell me that was Mangum's decision to bunt. Please.

Jones took a shot to the head while trying to break up the DP; hope he's okay.

Payne hits into a double play (6-4-3), ending the inning.

[Top 3rd] The one bummer about this new format is that, after one game, we already know we have no shot at the ACC title. Whether we win this game or not is immaterial. We're playing to improve our NCAA resume and that's it.

Ackley grounds out to second, one out.

And there's a flyout to the area behind first base. Poulk makes the grab. Horton grounds out to third, inning over. A 1-2-3 inning!

[Bottom 3rd] Foschi hits one back up the middle for a single to start the inning. We're back to the top of the order.

Poulk singles through the right side, so he's on base for the second time. First and second with nobody out.

Ferguson is bunting. Goddammit. This is why I don't go to a lot of Wolfpack baseball games. Feel free to join the rest of us in the 21st century, Elliot. So Ferguson can't get a bunt down and he has to swing away at 0-2, hits a grounder to third which gives the Heels an easy force play at that base. One out, runners at first and second.

Pond hits one to center which is dropped, but the Heels get the force at third anyway.

Ramon Corona comes through with a two out single, scoring Pat Ferguson. Ryan Pond advances to third.

Jeremy Synan pops out to second and that'll do it. All square through three.

[Top 4th] Chad Flack, Mr. 680 OPS, leadin' off again, making another stop on his World Tour of Suck Ass. He is out again.

The next Heels hitter--Tim Fedroff--gets beaned in the arse. Mike Hogewood is now talking about Fedroff's ass. This is not a preferred topic of discussion, I have to admit.

Kyle Seager--a man with very little power--hits a double to right. Men on second and third with one out.

Good heavens. It's another beaning, and this time Seth Williams is the target. Three HBPs for Surkamp, and not one of them on Reid Plonk, the HBP machine.

But Plonk is up here, so I think this is his time. Crowd that plate, Reid. Crowd it.

Plonk hits a double play ball and Williams slide tackles Foschi at second base to break it up. I don't think it was a dirty play but it did look bad because of the spill Foschi took.

Avent comes out to argue interference, to no avail. Heels back on top, 3-2.

Garrett Gore hits one into foul territory, and the fight between the two people actually sitting in the first base-side seats is vicious. Gore grounds out to third.

[Bottom 4th] Jones, perhaps a bit groggy, grounds out to short to start the inning. One down.

We have at least one superfan in the building, and he's an aerospace engineer. My man is hardcore--he's out on the lawn behind the left field fence all by himself.

Wicked pitch by Woodard to strike out Mangum.

You know, at least when we don't get anybody on base, Avent can't call for a sacrifice. 1-2-3 inning for Woodard, including two strikeouts. He has four.

[Top 5th] Ackley leads it off for Carolina; it's amazing that he's managed to hit .440 over the course of a full season. He hits one to the opposite field for a double. More trouble for Surkamp.

Federowicz flies out to center, Ackley advances. Bonner is impressed by Ackley's baserunning. In other news, a bug just fell off the ceiling onto my hand.

Horton stabs a blooper into left, Ackley scores. Chad Flack singles to left and we have reached a new low. It's 4-2 Carolina. Action in the bullpen.

Flack on first, Horton on second, one out. Fedroff grounds out sharply to first, Ferguson tags first and makes a horrible throw to second which gets by Foschi and nets UNC another run. Craptacular.

"Three hits in the inning now for NC State," Hogewood says. If only.

Seager hits a tough one to short and Foschi can't grab it; Flack scores to make it 6-2. They've scored it an error but that was an awfully difficult hop to handle.

Seth Williams gets sawed off, grounds softly to second, but Poulk botches it. No question this is an error; Heels score again and it's 7-2. Will this inning ever end?

Williams steals second with Plonk at the bat. Plonk pops out to Foschi at short, ending the pain.

[Bottom 5th] Avent had a little huddle going on in the dugout between innings. Profanities were being laced about, I'm sure.

Foschi strikes out to start the inning.

Poulk hits a can of corn to left, two out.

Whew. Another strikeout for Woodard, with Ferguson the victim this time. Easy inning.

[Top 6th] Lefty Andrew Taylor replaces Surkamp. He comes in with a 2.89 ERA in 28 IP but has nearly as many walks (16) as strikeouts (19).

Fox Sports cuts to the Eric Surkamp Left Ear Cam. Garrett Gore works the count full, but Taylor gets a perhaps generous call on the payoff for the strikeout.

Ackley flies out to left, two out.

Federowicz fans on a 2-2 pitch, so that's a 1-2-3 inning for Taylor. We needed one of those.

[Bottom 6th] Ryan Pond leads off. We really need to do something now. Pond singles up the middle, his first hit of the tournament.

Corona hits it hard to short where Josh Horton makes a nice play and gets the force on Pond at second; Corona safe at first.

Mike Hogewood, crazy little league parent.

Synan manages a base knock to right, which puts runners at first and second with one out.

Marcus Jones flies out to the right fielder, two out. Woodard balks and both runners advance. Need a big two-out hit from Mangum here.

Mangum indeed comes through; Pond scores; Synan tries for home but is thrown out. So, 7-3.

[Top 7th] After a stirring interview with the Avent's Army dude in left field, we're set to start the seventh. Taylor remains in the game for State.

Horton grounds out to first on a 2-2 pitch, Ferguson makes the play unassisted.

There is some serious giggling going on in the booth. They showed Horton's mother on camera and then the laughing started. They run a tight ship here on Sports South, obviously.

Actually, I take it back--it's Avent Army dude's mom. A correspondent is on the scene to talk with her. When we're interviewing a fan's mother, well, I'm not sure what that says about the game. Meanwhile, Fedroff singles past the first baseman. Men on first and second with one out.

Kyle Seager pops out to short. Every time he's mentioned, I think of Pete Seeger. Where have all the flowers gone, Kyle?

Seth Williams singles up the middle, Jones makes a good throw, but it's late regardless. Flack scores; 8-3.

Plonk walks to load the bases which spurs a pitching change. In will come Kyle Rutter. Rutter's only logged 21.7 IP this year.

[Insert shot of Avent's Army guy in left] Rutter's first pitch to Garrett Gore is a strike; the second pitch is fouled off, putting Gore down 0-2 quickly. Gore battles back, hits the ball to short and Foschi foolishly tries to get the force himself at second. No chance. In his defense, he was off balance after he nabbed the grounder so it wouldn't exactly have been a routine throw. That will do it for Rutter...the fielding is killin' us tonight.

Little-used Jake Kensmoe replaces Rutter. It's 9-3 Carolina and the bases are still loaded. Kensmoe gets Ackley to ground out to Ferguson at first, who again makes the play unassisted. Inning mercifully over.

[Bottom 7th] Is anyone reading this at this point? I don't think so.

Joe Florio pinch-hits for the Pack and makes an out. Woodard remains in control of things.

Horton makes an excellent play on a grounder to his right for the second out; Poulk quickly makes the third out with a fly ball to left. Hello, corpseball.

[Top 8th] Kensmoe remains in the game for the Pack.

Federowicz hits one to right-center; Marcus Jones handles it for the first out.

Horton stabs one to left for a single. I miss the 1-2-3 inning.

Good freaking god. Flack hits a grounder to short and it takes a wicked hop off the dirt which Foschi can't handle (understandably). Men on first and second.

With the runners moving, Fedroff singles to right and gives the Heels their tenth run. Fedroff advances to second on Ryan Pond's throw. Second and third. I'm feeling good about this, I really am. I think our breakthrough eight-run inning is coming up here.

Seager flies out to right, not deep enough to score the runner from third. Two down. Avent's out to the mound to make a pitching change. Do you know what time it is, Elliott?!

Sam Brown enters. He's got an ERA higher Kensmoe's and Rutter's, but his peripherals--particularly his K:BB ratio--are far superior. He issues few walks and gives up a hit an inning, so he doesn't mess around that whole outside-the-strikezone area. Grounder to short, no problem for Foschi this time.

[Bottom 8th] Pat Ferguson lines out to center, Pond walks. Corona hits a double to left center.

Synan grounds out to third, scoring Pond. 10-4. Corona advances and it looks like Woodard is done. He saved the bullpen; gave up a lot of hits but kept the pitch count down anyway.

Marcus Jones hits a breaking ball on the nose for a single to center, Corona scores. 10-5. Run charged to Woodard.

Mangum grounds out to short, Heels get the force at second. Does Carolina get a bad hop? Oh no. No no no. Of course not.

[Top 9th] Chris, the Avent's Army guy, is still rockin' it in left field. You go, man.

Drew Martin replaces Foschi at SS.

Reid Plonk is up for the sixth time--it's his last chance to get hit by a pitch. He instead flies out to Jones near the track in right-center.

Garrett Gore doubles down the right field line. Next pitch gets by Mangum, Gore moves up to third.

Ackley gives the Heels their 16th hit and 11th run. Boo-urns.

Brown strikes out Federowicz on three pitches. Very nice.

Horton doubles to left, putting runners on second and third.

Wow. Flack tees off on the first pitch and it goes down the left field line for a double. Two men score, it's 13-5. Also, it's 1 AM. Just like ground out or something, people. Honestly.

Hogewood says there's a mercy rule. I'm crying uncle here.

Sweet Christ. Double. Left field. And so forth. Sergei Fedorov...err, Tim Fedroff gets the hit. 14-5. Bonner notes that there is no activity in the bullpen as Elliott Avent walks to the mound. I weep. At least the mercy rule comes into effect with one more run.

Seager grounds out to Martin at short.

[Bottom 9th] All right, here it is. We're in a hole; we just have to dig ourselves out.

Carolina has brought in its closer to protect its tenuous nine-run lead. Bonner points out that this is not a save situation. Thanks, Dan. I wasn't sure.

Joe Florio walks to start the inning.

Drew Martin. Can of corn. Right field.

Passed ball advances Florio. Even the Avent's Army dude is tired of this shit now. He's checkin' his watch. If you think he's waving his flag at this hour, you can forget it. What time is it? 1:10? Could we hurry up and lose?

Poulk walks.

Pat Ferguson grounds out to the pitcher for the second out; runners advance.

Pitcher throws a ball to Ryan Pond which is called a strike by the ump. He's ready to get out of here, I think. Pond's fouling off pitches like it's 1:15 PM.

Pond grounds out to Ackley at first, game over. 14-5. I thought we had 'em right where we wanted 'em.

Paul Crane's all like, "fuck, dude, I do not get paid enough for this."

At least we've got Friday off. I expect that we'll be in the NCAAs regardless of what happens on Saturday, but this is worrisome.