With the new season beginning in one week, Pack the Bases examines what the Wolfpack will bring to the diamond.

After finishing the 2019 season with an NCAA Regional loss to East Carolina, NC State starts anew with the 2020 opener against James Madison on Friday, Feb. 14.

The Wolfpack will begin the 2020 campaign ranked across all major polls, as high as No. 16 (Collegiate BaseballD1Baseball) and as low as No. 21 (Perfect Game) with a consensus Preseason All-American selection in junior catcher Patrick Bailey. But what is to be expected from this State team? Here is what we think.

Projected Depth Chart

Catcher
1. Patrick Bailey
2. Brad Debo

First Baseman
1. Austin Murr
2. Brad Debo

DSC00945
Sophomore infielder/outfielder Tyler McDonough

Second Baseman
1. J.T. Jarrett
OR Tyler McDonough
2. David Vazquez

Shortstop
1. Jose Torres
OR Vojtech Mensik
2. David Vazquez

Third Baseman
1. Vojtech Mensik
2. Devonte Brown

Left Field
1. Jonny Butler
2. Devonte Brown

Center Field
1. Tyler McDonough
OR Noah Soles

Right Field
1. Devonte Brown
OR Terrell Tatum
2. Marek Chlup

Designated Hitter
1. Brad Debo
2. Austin Murr

Jaylynn Nash LLC00177_NC State Baseball 03.30.19
Junior right-handed pitcher Reid Johnston

Weekend Rotation
1. Nick Swiney (Friday)
2. Reid Johnston (Saturday)
3. Evan Justice (Sunday)
4. Logan Bender
5. Dalton Feeney
6. Cameron Cotter

Relief/Closing
1. Kent Klyman
2. Dalton Feeney
3. Canaan Silver
4. Chris Villaman
5. Matt Willadsen

PTB’s Projected Batting Order

1. LF Jonny Butler (.267, 3 HR, 29 RBI, 69 R)
2. CF Tyler McDonough (.320, 5 HR, 47 RBI, 38 R, 10-12 SB)
3. C Patrick Bailey (.288, 10 HR, 46 RBI, 50 R)
4. DH Brad Debo (.242, 4 HR, 39 RBI, 28 R)
5. 1B Austin Murr [.409, 6 HR, 54 RBI, 48 R, 13-16 SB (Des Moines Area CC)]
6. 3B Vojtech Mensik (.250, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 27 R, 9-9 SB)
7. RF Devonte Brown (.286, 5 RBI, 10 R)
8. SS Jose Torres [.344, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 9 R (Calvert Hall College HS), according to MaxPreps]
9. 2B J.T. Jarrett (.228, 1 HR, 17 RBI, 19 R)

Conference Schedule Predictions

Opponent Home/Away Prediction
Virginia (Mar. 6-8) Away L (2/3)
Boston College (Mar. 13-15) Home W (Sweep)
Wake Forest (Mar. 20-22) Home L (Sweep)
Florida State (Mar. 27-29) Away W (2/3)
Duke (Apr. 3-5) Home W (2/3)
Georgia Tech (Apr. 10-12) Away L (2/3)
North Carolina (Apr. 17-19) Home W (2/3)
Clemson (Apr. 24-26) Away L (2/3)
Louisville (May 8-10) Away L (Sweep)
Notre Dame (May 14-16) Home W (Sweep)

Summary

This won’t be a team that produces as boisterously as the year prior, especially with Will Wilson and Evan Edwards onto greener pastures. The onus will mostly be on Bailey and McDonough to provide the biggest offensive spark, putting more of the opponents’ emphasis on stopping them. In terms of pitching, this could potentially be a breakout year for Justice whose 2019 MLB Draft selection should provide a confidence boost early on. However, Johnston will likely still emerge as the rotation’s MVP and could become a long-shot dark horse contender for the ACC Pitcher of the Year.

The Wolfpack will look to return to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth straight year and should get into the Field of 64 with little to no worry. However, State could potentially find itself in the No. 2 seeds with a tough conference schedule to contend with, bogging down the team’s chances of hosting a Regional.

Join the Conversation

2 Comments

    1. Yes. I have a nagging feeling that State will let Wake’s bats come alive. If I’m wrong, I’ll own up to it, but the Demon Deacons are definitely not a team to be taken lightly.

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