The Wolfpacker

September 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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■ PACK PROS Pittsburgh-area high school in 2008 by the Washington Nationals, who four years later have one of the top pitching staffs in Major League Baseball. But Mazzoni turned down the Nationals R and headed to Raleigh, where he became the top starting pitcher for the Wolfpack by his junior year in 2011. "I thought about [turning pro], but I felt I was not ready for minor-league life," Mazzoni said. "I only weighed about 160 pounds. I had a decent fastball and devel- oping curve. The decision was pretty easy. "Coming out of high school, it would have been a tough adjustment to minor- league life," he added. "I got a good edu- cation and got to play in the ACC. Those three years really helped me." And now Mazzoni is on track, if all goes well, to become a major-league pitcher one day. Drafted in the second round by the New York Mets out of NC State last year, he began this season as the No. 18 prospect in the New York system, according to Base- ball America. Mazzoni pitched in six games with short-season Class A Brooklyn of the New York-Penn League and six games with ad- vanced Class A St. Lucie of the Florida State League in 2011 after he turned pro, and compiled a 2-1 record with a 1.38 ERA in 12 games (one start). He made 12 starts for St. Lucie this season and, after pitch- ing one inning in the Florida State League All-Star Game in June, he was called up to Double-A Binghamton of the Eastern League. "I try not to think about it," he said of his status, standing outside of the Binghamton clubhouse during a road trip to Bowie, Md., this summer. "I was pitching pretty well with St. Lucie. It is good baseball down there. I am just trying to improve. I want to look back and say I gave it my all and be ready for the next step." After going 5-1 with an ERA of 3.25 in 12 starts for St. Lucie, Mazzoni was 5-4 with an ERA of 3.49 in his first 11 starts with Binghamton as of Aug. 22. That included two complete games and back- to-back outings of seven scoreless innings July 7 and July 13. "Once you are here, everyone says you are literally a phone call away [from the big leagues]," he said. "But you don't wish for an injury for anyone. Once you are in 90 ■ THE WOLFPACKER Mazzoni, who was listed by Baseball America as the Mets' No. 18 prospect entering the season, was 10-5 with a 3.37 ERA in 23 minor league starts through Aug. 22. PHOTO COURTESY BINGHAMTON METS Double-A, you are pretty close. What you see here is almost what you will see in the big leagues." Mazzoni, who had 48 strikeouts ver- sus only 16 walks in his first 67 innings with Binghamton, throws a fastball in the mid-90s with a slider and a changeup. "What makes him a good pitcher is his command on the mound," Binghamton manager Pedro Lopez said. "When he is out there it is the same attitude, whether things are going well or not. He has been able to keep an even keel. That is the sign of a good pitcher. He has done a terrific job for us. It has been a quick rise for him so far." Mazzoni noted that after changing levels, he needed to adjust to the hitters in the Eastern League. "The hitters here are more patient," he said. "There are a lot of free swingers in the Florida State League. You have to keep the ball down and change speeds." The Eastern League has affiliates from major markets teams such as the Mets, Yankees, Phillies and Red Sox. "It is a lot different than the Florida State League," Mazzoni said. "It is definitely a Pitcher Cory Mazzoni Is On The Fast Track With The Mets BY DAVID DRIVER ight-handed pitcher Cory Mazzoni was drafted in the 26th round out of a

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