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NC State hosts UNCG in last regular season non-conference game

Meet the Spartans (again)... Just about a perfectly average team

COLLEGE BASEBALL: APR 26 East Carolina at N.C. State Photo by Nicholas Faulkner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: UNC Greensboro

Mascot: Lakonian Admins | School Location: Greensborough, NC | Conference: Southern

2022 Record: 25-26 (0-0, T-1st) | 2022 RPI Rank: 141

2021 Record: 27-25 (12-18, 4th) | 2021 RPI Rank: 103

2020 Record: 11-5 (0-0, T-1st) | 2020 RPI Rank: 73


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: Doak Field at Dail Park (Raleigh, NC)

Game Time(s): Tues, May 17 @ 6:00pm

TV: ACCNX (Tuesday)

Radio: The Varsity Network (Tuesday)

Live Stats: Sidearm Stats


Tell me about this team

It’s been a hot minute since NC State and UNCG squared off back in early March. The Spartans entered that game at 6-5 and ranked 129th in RPI (catch up on that preview here). They enter this one at 25-26 and ranked 141st in RPI.

Much like last time, NC State could use a win in this one (and they got it last time, too). Granted, the circumstances aren’t as dire this time - heading into that early March game, the Pack were riding a four game losing steak including a series sweep at the hands of a Northeastern squad which has [don’t look them up].

The Wolfpack have all but wrapped up an NCAA bid, but confidence is a great thing to have late in the year and getting rid of the bad taste leftover from the last game of the Duke series and the last midweek game against UNCW would do wonders for the squad.

So what about UNCG?

Well, they’re basically the same club they were earlier in the year. The pitching has improved a bit - they’ve actually gotten slightly worse by ERA, but markedly better in opponents batting average and BB:K ratio - and the hitting is doing basically the same, but the defense has gotten worse. Add it all up and it’s still basically a .500 team.

Offense is the strength of the club and in a midweek game that can be all a team needs to capture a win. Don’t take the Spartans lightly.


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Wednesday: RHP Zack Mallia (SO)


Key Players:

Offense

2B Hogan Windish (JR) - .404/.502/.705, 17 2B, 0 3B, 11 HR, 39 R, 48 RBI, 30 BB, 27 K, 5 HBP, 6-7 SB. Dude can hit, that’s all there is to it. Most likely on his way to SoCon Player-of-the-Year honors despite the team being .500 in league play. He’s just been that good.

LF Kennedy Jones (FR) - .349/.415/.540, 13 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 47 R, 53 RBI, 19 BB, 31 K, 3 HBP, 4-5 SB. While Windish probably has the inside track to SoCon PoY honors, Jones may well bring home the SoCon Freshman-of-the-Year award. The guy started off the year hot and just has not stopped.

CF/RF Pres Cavenaugh (SO) - .341/.410/.505, 10 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 47 R, 44 RBI, 20 BB, 23 K, 5 HBP, 11-14 SB. Speaking of SoCon accolades, Cavenaugh just earned SoCon Player-of-the-Week honors. Over the last five games, Cavenaugh is 14-for-22 with 2 2B, 1 3B, and 2 HR.

3B Mitchell Smith (JR) - .337/.431/.505, 21 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 36 R, 35 RBI, 27 BB, 36 K, 4 HBP, 4-5 SB. The sophomore Ohio State transfer has caught fire over the second half of the year. He’s currently riding a 12 game hitting streak and has hits in 20 of the last 21 games. He’s yet another dude on his way to some postseason honors.

Pitching

RHP Zack Mallia (SO) - 0-1, 14.85 ERA, 6.2 IP, 9 H, 9 BB, 6 K. Big boy without a lot of experience. This will be his first appearance on the mound in a month. Has only thrown 10.1 innings over his two years in Greensboro.

RHP Alex Hoppe (SR) - 7-2, 2 SV, 2.55 ERA, 60.0 IP, 41 H, 29 BB, 80 K. Well on his way to All-SoCon honors this year. In conference play has posted a 1.26 ERA while holding opponents to just a .133 batting average. Control has been an issue, though.

LHP Price King (JR) - 2-1, 0 SV, 4.35 ERA, 39.1 IP, 42 H, 9 BB, 31 K. No, not a 1980’s furniture superstore, just a big boy pitcher at 6’2, 250 lbs. << I’m so proud of that line that I’m using it again. Also King has just a 2.33 ERA over 19.1 innings in SoCon play. He does a good job pounding the zone and limiting opposing extra-base hits.


Quick! Fun Facts!

State is 30-9 all-time against UNCG.

UNCG is one of five Division I baseball programs nicknamed the Spartans. Can you name the other four?

The Spartans have had four alums play at the MLB level, all within the last dozen years. They are RHP Brian Moehler, 3B Danny Valencia, RHP Max Povse, and RHP Andrew Wantz. Wantz has appeared at the top level of baseball in each of the last two seasons for the Angels, although he’s currently in AAA.


Prediction

UNCG is throwing a completely inexperienced pitcher out there who has been completely ineffective in the time he has been on the bump. So that either means he’s throwing a complete game shutout or this is a prime opportunity for the State bats to mash.

Outcome: I’ll go with the latter and a high-scoring Wolfpack win.