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Friday, February 20, 2009

Pack Nine Take The Field For The First Time Today At 3:00

Season preview from GoPack.com

The Wolfpack baseball season kicks off officially today with a 3:00 start against the University of Rhode Island as part of a three-game weekend homestand. Xavier and Santa Clara round out the field.

I won't pretend to pass myself off as an expert of all things Wolfpack Baseball, 'cause I'm not. But it doesn't take a Bruce Winkworth to tell you that the Pack pitching staff will be missing a lot of firepower from the season before.

Clayton Shunick (7-6, 2.76), Eric Surkamp (5-3, 4.89) and Eryk McConnell (4-2, 4.85) are all gone from last year's fantastic rotation, and the Pack will be turning to relatively untested arms to fill their considerable void. The extent and rapidity that they do will likely determine just how far this team can go this season.

One notable member of the squad won't be taking the field today. Russell Wilson, who made quite a name for himself on the football field over the back half of the season but was injured in the bowl game against Rutgers, could miss a considerable chunk of the baseball season. He is scheduled to have a final MRI eight weeks after his injury, which would be the week of the 23rd, and even then he'll likely have some further recovery/evaluation time to log before seeing the diamond to ensure he's 100% healthy.

He's no doubt itching to get back out there, and Pack fans will be just as eager to see him take the field when that time comes.

The Doak is a wonderful place to take in a game on a sunny weekend day, so I encourage you to make it out that way at some point this year. There are great opportunities to see games against some top-notch ACC opponents this year, particularly toward the back end of the schedule: FSU, Carolina and Clemson all come to town for three-game sets in late April and early May. Hopefully all four squads will have something significant to play for heading into those series.

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