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Shepard, O'Donnell & Hood; not a law firm, just 3 local baseball players for NC State + more!

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RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) -- With just a few games left in the regular season NC State is in a dog fight with the Pittsburgh Panthers just to get into the ACC Baseball Tournament. Both teams enter the final weekend of regular season play tied for 10th place at 11-16. Barring anything unexpected, there's only room for one, not both. Former Hoggard pitcher Joe O'Donnell is a freshman relief pitcher for the Wolfpack. "If we just handle and take care of business then we'll get in the ACC Tournament," O'Donnell said. "Hopefully if we get there we'll feel good about ourselves and string a few there and get a bid."

NC State has clearly been playing their best baseball of the season after an extremely slow start in league play. Sophomore Chance Shepard is an Ashley High graduate. Shepard has been a steady starter at designated hitter and left field the last month after playing catcher in high school. "You can feel the energy, it's fun, we enjoy showing up to the field," Shepard said. Shepard has a keen eye. He tends to draw a lot of walks and for the time as a collegiate player Shepard stole a base. It happened last weekend against Wake Forest. "I'm not a slow guy. I can steal bases. I haven't been able to steal since I've been here, that was fun."

Freshman Nathan Hood, a graduate of Whiteville High School has started 8 games this season for the Wolfpack, but none lately. "So far it's been a great experience, getting to travel, go different places I've never been, especially right now with no school, it's just baseball, it's a lot of fun to come to the park every day and just play ball."

Note: NC State entered the weekend with an 11-16 record. That's the same record as Pittsburgh. The Panthers lost on Thursday 3-0 against Notre Dame. Pittsburgh is now 11-17, a half game behind NC State for the 10th and final spot in the upcoming tournament. The NC State-Virginia Tech game was rained out.

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BROOKLINE, MA (UNCW) -- Mat Batts struck out six and allowed one run while UNCW plated all three runs in the fourth inning as the Seahawks took the Colonial Athletic Association series opener from Northeastern, 3-1, on Thursday at Friedman Diamond.

The Seahawks improved to 27-24 with their third straight win and 9-8 in the CAA. The Huskies, meanwhile, dipped to 24-26 overall and 8-11 in the circuit. Batts (6-3) earned the win with another strong outing. Over seven innings, he scattered seven hits and hit one batter and lowered his ERA to 2.30. Kelly Secrest pitched the ninth and earned his sixth save.
NU starter Nick Berger (2-6) took the loss despite striking out 11 and surrendering three runs on six hits and a walk in a complete game effort. NU outhit the Seahawks, 8-6, with Jason Vosler, Brad Burcroff and Josh Treff each collecting two hits on the afternoon.

Up next: The series continues on Friday with another 3 p.m. start.

How it happened: UNCW strung together four straight hits off Berger to open the fourth inning. Corey Dick tied the game at 1-all with a RBI single and Ryan LaGrange followed with a RBI single of his own to give UNCW the lead. Robbie Thorburn plated the final run of the frame with a ground out.

Inside the box score: Batts and the Seahawk staff allowed just two leadoff hitters to reach and one two-out hit … Batts has now allowed just four earned runs in his last 52 innings for a 0.69 ERA

Notes: The Seahawks improved to 15-8-1 all-time against Northeastern and 6-6-1 at Friedman Diamond … Christian MacDonald tossed a shutout eighth inning and has not allowed a run in his last five appearances … UNCW did tie the school single season record with 83 hit batters … UNCW pitchers have compiled a 1.27 ERA over their last eight games.

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WILMINGTON, NC – Wilmington Hammerheads FC announced on Thursday that they will be hosting their Major League Soccer affiliate Toronto FC on Wednesday, June 18 at Legion Stadium in Wilmington, NC. Tickets for the match go on sale on Friday, May 16.

“This friendly match is another great benefit of our strong partnership with Toronto,” said Wilmington Hammerheads FC General Manager Jason Arnold. “We are excited to host the team and showcase their club to our fans and the City of Wilmington.”

The match falls in the middle of Toronto’s three-week gap in their game schedule in June.

“We are very excited to participate in a friendly match with Wilmington during the FIFA World Cup break,” said Toronto FC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Wilmington has done a great job thus far in providing our players on loan with everything they need to succeed and grow in a professional environment. This is another opportunity to strengthen our relationship with our affiliate club and bring Toronto FC into their market, all while giving our players match minutes during the break.”

The Hammerheads currently have three players on loan from Toronto FC: Quillan Roberts, Jordan Hamiliton and Manu Aparicio.

The Hammerheads will be taking the field against Toronto in a match that will not affect their overall league points. “This is a great opportunity for our players to matchup against the highest level of soccer in North America,” said Arnold.

Tickets for the event are available for purchase online, at the Hammerheads front office, or at the ticket booth when the gates open at Legion Stadium the day of the match. Ticket prices include: $20 for adults, $15 for youth, and $18 for seniors, military and students. Season ticket holders will be able to purchase tickets at a discounted rate.

This event takes place three days prior to the Hammerheads hosting MLS’s Chicago Fire Reserves for a regular season matchup on Saturday, June 21. The Hammerheads are offering a Dual Ticket Package for fans to attend both games. Ticket prices for the two-game bundle include: $25 for adults, $20 for youth, and $22 for seniors, military and students.

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CERRO GORDO, NC (WWAY) -- Assistant coach is no longer the title for Jason Jones at West Columbus High School. Jones has been named head football coach and director of athletics at West Columbus replacing Mark Little, who recently announced his retirement.

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Ashely graduate T.J. Williams will be be a Moc for one season. Williams has transferred after one season of men's basketball at Tennessee Chattanooga. He intends to transfer to North Georgia.

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BURLINGTON, IA (CFCC RELEASE) -- Round three of the NJCAA National Tournament proved to be an up and down day for the Cape Fear Community College men’s golf team as the Sea Devils posted a combined 317 at Spirit Hollow Golf Course.

After hitting 312 on Wednesday, CFCC continued its consistent play over the last few days as the four top players from each team are included to come up with the total team score. The Sea Devils have five golfers competing at the event.

Tanner Pearson posted an even-par 36 on the back nine to finish with a team low five-over 77, followed by Matt Elliot at 78, and Zack Joines at 79. Jace Durham and Broc Howerton posted an 83 and 86 for day three, respectively.

Pearson was one-under in the final nine holes until bogeying the par-four 17th, while Elliott had four birdies on the front, but bogeyed three in the back and finished with a five on the par-three, 15.

After shooting 77 on Wednesday, Joines picked up his play to open the match. He was at even-par with back-to-back birdies after the turn, but the sophomore either bogeyed or double-bogeyed five of the last seven holes to finish at plus-seven for the day.
Thursday’s show bumped Cape Fear two spot from 17th to 15th on the team leader board.
The final round of this year’s NJCAA National Tournament concludes Friday in Burlington, Iowa.

CFCC team score: 326-312-317=955
Individual scores (par 72)
Zach Joines- 78-77-79=234 (+18)
Matt Elliott- 81-75-78=234 (+ 18)
Tanner Pearson- 83-77-77=237 (+21)
Jace Durham- 84-83-83= 250 (+34)
Broc Howerton 85-86-86=257 (+41)

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