NC State Series Round-Up
NC State took two of three from the Tar Heels in both teams' conference opener last weekend. However, the story of the weekend was Jackson Hicks, who threw a no-hitter, earning conference and national pitcher of the week honors.
Hicks took the bump in Game 1, and turned in the best performance of his UNC career to date. Jackson had a perfect game through 4 and 2/3 innings, before an error on a bunt derailed his attempts at perfection. That was followed by a walk, before Hicks ended the threat with a strikeout. There would be no more baserunners for the Wolfpack, who only hit two balls out of the infield all game. Hicks ended the game with eight strikeouts and just the one walk, and needed only 86 pitches in a dominating performance. But it was almost for naught, as the Heels were kept scoreless through five innings as well. Garrett Howerton broke the deadlock by drawing a bases-loaded walk, and the Heels pushed across two more runs in the sixth to win the series opener 3-0.
In Game 2, Shugo Tanaka took the mound for UNC, hoping to throw his third straight complete-game shutout to begin the season. It was not to be, unfortunately. Tanaka gave up two early runs before settling down and shutting down the Wolfpack through the middle-innings before giving up another run in the 5th. He then gave way to Jacob Fuller, making his debut on the mound, who threw two shutout innings to close out the game. Though it was not as dominant as his previous performances, Shugo definitely gave the Heels a chance to win. Unfortunately, the Carolina bats were stymied throughout, as NC State's pitcher carried a shutout into the 6th inning. Cade Darnell broke up the shutout with an RBI single, but Carolina's best chance of the game was extinguished with a double play to end the inning, as NC State prevailed 3-1.
In the rubber match, NC State plated four runs in the first inning and never looked back, despite Garrett Howerton's stellar relief appearance. Howerton hurled 5 2/3 innings, only surrendering one run while striking out three. However, the UNC offense couldn't mount any sustained pressure, despite two hits apiece from Nick Hebert and Fred Holscher. UNC mustered one run in the eight, but ultimately lost 6-1, falling to 5-4 on the season.
The Heels will have a break before returning to action against Appalachian State on March 21st.
Pitcher of the Week
Jackson Hicks: Hicks earned national pitcher of the week honors by throwing a no-hitter. He allowed just two baserunners while striking out 8 batters en route to throwing a complete game shutout.
Player of the Week
Colin Schilly: Schilly continued his hot start to the season, collecting a hit in each game against the Wolfpack. His 5 hits on the weekend led all Tar Heels as he pushed his hit streak to six to begin the sesaon. Schilly went 5 for 9 on the weekend, added a walk, a run, an RBI, and three stolen bases.