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Big Weekend For Baseball

NC State is in Chapel Hill this weekend for a pivotal series against the most vulnerable-looking Tar Heels team we've seen in a while.  Getting two-of-three here is important for a few reasons:

1.) NC State's RPI is not so good right now, and the team is not in good shape for an NCAA tournament bid.  Carolina sits in the RPI top-30, which means that wins this weekend are quality wins.  According to the RPI Needs Report, the Pack needs an 18-8 finish in order to crack the RPI top-45.

2.) At 5-7 in conference play, State sits 7th in the standings.  Only the top 8 make the ACC tournament.  Obviously, if we miss the ACC tourney, we can forget about the NCAAs.  The Tar Heels are only a game behind us, so if they take 2-of-3, they pull even.  (Although if things play out like they should, this is moot.  UNC and NC State are both clearly a tier above Duke/Maryland/BC/Wake.  Tiers.)

3.) It gets easier from here, and it's about time.  State has Maryland and Boston College next; those two are a combined 7-17 in ACC play.  We need to get those series either way, but there's a lot less pressure if we leave this weekend with a 7-8 record rather than a 6-9 or 5-10 disaster.