Campbell adds to misery for NC State baseball

jgiglio@newsobserver.comApril 22, 2014 

— The hole just keeps getting deeper and deeper for N.C. State's baseball team.

Campbell added to the Wolfpack's misery with a 9-0 rout on Tuesday night at Doak Field. Danny Pardo doubled, homered and drove in five runs for the Camels, who handed N.C. State its 16th loss in 23 games.

The Wolfpack (21-18), who went to the College World Series last season for the first time since 1968 and started this season ranked No. 5 in the country, suffered its second home shutout of the season. That hadn't happened since 1976.

Coach Elliott Avent said he was both surprised and disappointed at where his team is but he's not ready to give up.

"We're playing hard, we can play better," Avent said. "Only thing you can do when you're down is just keep working. If you work hard enough, you can come out of things if you're good enough. And we're good enough."

The Pack took a 14-2 record to Florida State on March 14. Since then, it has gone 7-16 with one crippling loss after another for its postseason hopes.

Tuesday was no different with Campbell (27-14) winning in Raleigh for the first time since 2009.

Pardo, a freshman left fielder, hit a three-run homer in the third to open the floodgates.

It was the first career start for Chris Williams (0-1), a junior from Athens Drive, who didn't make it through the third inning. Campbell had six straight hits in the third, with Pardo's shot being the big blast, and put up five runs.

"That five spot seemed to — we didn't quit fighting — but dampen our spirits," Avent said.

Pardo doubled in a run in the fourth and Sam Rector knocked a home run off Ryan Williamson in sixth for a 7-0 advantage for the Camels.

The two teams needed extra innings on April 1, a 9-2 Wolfpack win in 12, but this one wasn't nearly as close.

For N.C. State it's a tailspin to a season that started with so much hope but has careened off the rails with no end in sight. The Wolfpack has made the NCAA tournament 10 times in the previous 11 seasons under Avent but is in danger of missing both the NCAA and ACC tournaments.

A series loss to last-place Boston College last weekend, at home, added to the Wolfpack's misery. It was unable to snap out of the losing funk on Tuesday.

Campbell split the two-game season series with the Wolfpack and has split the past 10 games, after only winning eight of the first 50 games in the all-time series.

The Camels probably still need to win the Big South conference to make the school's second NCAA appearance and first since 1990 but Tuesday's win can't hurt their confidence. Last year, Campbell finished 49-10, and had a top 40 RPI, but was left out of the 64-team field.

"We've always felt like this team could be good, but it's just kind of growing up," Campbell coach Greg Goff said. "Tonight we grew up a little bit."

The Wolfpack has had a combination of problems during this losing stretch. The offense had seemed to come around since back-to-back shutout losses to East Carolina (April 9) and Duke (April 11), with 33 runs in the previous five games.

But Campbell starter Heath Bowers (7-2) shut down the Wolfpack lineup, allowing only five hits and no runs in eight innings.

N.C. State's defense didn't help, either, with two throwing errors leading to two Campbell runs.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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