Columbia Regional

Southern Conference Champions - 2007

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Postby TURKEYCREEK on Fri Jun 01, 2007 10:11 am

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Postby elonfirefighter on Fri Jun 01, 2007 11:29 am

N.C. State's Brackman to miss regional
Sore elbow keeps pitcher off roster against 49ers
A.J. CARR
(Raleigh) News & Observer
At a time N.C. State needs all the pitching it can muster, Andrew Brackman is still ailing and won't play in this weekend's NCAA regional baseball tournament at Columbia, S.C.

Coach Elliott Avent -- whose Pack meets Charlotte in the 2 p.m. opener today -- watched Brackman throw in the bullpen before leaving Raleigh and decided not to include him on the official 25-man roster.

"He had a little discomfort,'' Avent said. "I just didn't feel it was in his best interest, didn't feel it was fair to Andrew or our team to force the issue."

Avent also said Scott Boras, Brackman's adviser, was not involved in the decision.

Brackman, who has a 3.81 ERA, has mild inflammation in his throwing elbow and hasn't pitched in a game since May 12.

In today's opener, Eric Surkamp, the No. 1 pitcher in State's rotation, will try to conquer Charlotte (47-10) and send the Pack (37-21) into a second-round game Saturday against the winner of tonight's South Carolina-Wofford game.

In Brackman's absence, sophomore right-hander Clayton Shunick has been thrust into a bigger role. Though his overall ERA is an inflated 5.98, Shunick has a sub-4.00 mark as a starter and probably will pitch Saturday.

"He had three great outings,'' Avent said. "We feel we have a pretty good situation [with him]."

If State advances, Jimmy Gillheeney (4-2, 5.78) or Jeff Stallings (3-1, 3.63) probably will start game No. 3.

Pitching isn't State's only issue. The Wolfpack has been a team in mourning, hurting emotionally as well as physically.

A friend of Brackman's and the father of shortstop Tommy Foschi recently died.

"They are tremendous tragedies,'' Avent said, adding that the Pack's main focus has been on "supporting our teammates."

Foschi, a .333 hitter, pulled a hamstring during the ACC Tournament, and Avent wasn't certain Thursday about his shortstop's playing status.

Against Charlotte, the Pack will need Foschi's bat and lots of offensive punch as well as pitching. Charlotte ace Adam Mills has a 13-2 record and the nation's best ERA (1.06), and he has given up just one home run all season.

Mills, a 6-foot, 189-pound senior, is excited about pitching in the regional.

"I feel good; I feel fresh,'' he said. "We're all ready to go. From day one this has been our plan: to be here. It doesn't make any difference who you are pitching against. We're ready to get it going. I'm pretty psyched about it."

(News & Observer staff writer Chip Alexander contributed to this story.)
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