With the college baseball regular season about halfway done, shit is starting to get real. Baseball America posted some early NCAA Tournament projections, and while NC State is in good position right now, BA's guess at this point is that State ends up a No. 2 seed. That's fair enough. Tough draw though: traveling to Waco to face Baylor and TCU. They acknowledge that NCSU would host a regional if the season were to end this week, but they're hedging against us.
If regionals started today, North Carolina State would surely host a regional, with a robust RPI ranking (No. 5). But Miami isn't too far behind at No. 11, and we have more faith in the ability of Miami's veteran-laden pitching staff to hold up in the second half than N.C. State's young staff, so we're giving the Hurricanes the third host site out of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Certainly, the ACC could earn a fourth host, as it has the strongest conference RPI, but we expect the SEC to assert itself as the strongest conference by season's end, so the SEC gets rewarded with five hosts.
The good thing about this league in baseball, unlike basketball, is that there are still plenty of opportunities--from an RPI perspective--for NC State to prove itself.
Aaron Fitt names Carlos Rodon his freshman of the year so far:
At 6-foot-3, 234 pounds, Rodon is incredibly physical for a freshman, and his stuff is simply electric. His fastball regularly reaches the mid-to-high-90s even late in games, and his power slider is a wipeout offering. He also owns a good cutter and changeup, and his ability to use all four pitches has helped him go 4-0, 1.49 with 59 strikeouts and 12 walks in 48 innings.
As far as the regional picture goes, the next two weekends are big. State travels to Maryland and Clemson, and those are series against decent teams that offer good RPI value. Both are very winnable, and given the fact that BC and Duke follow them, they present a great opportunity to make a move in the ACC.