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NC State baseball begins crucial stretch at Virginia on Friday

NC State Athletics Communications

There's a couple ways you can process the early stages of this NC State baseball season. On the bright side, NC State is in good shape for an NCAA bid both from an overall record standpoint (17-8, 3-4) and an RPI standpoint (29). The other way of looking at this, though, begins with missed opportunity.

The scheduling gods gifted the Wolfpack with home series against Boston College and Notre Dame to begin league play. Neither of those teams are bad, mind you, but the Wolfpack probably should have gotten four wins out of those six games. The setup for an advantageous 5-1 start to league play was there. Instead, State split those six games.

That's okay, but it does create the potential for more sweating in the weeks ahead. The Wolfpack's trip to Tallahassee this past weekend was almost a complete waste of time, as State lost the opener, and the next two games were rained out. That deprived State of a couple of opportunities for quality road wins.

Now the Wolfpack is heading to UVA, which is in a similar position, record-wise. This is a get-able series, and it'd be timely in giving State the chance to build some momentum heading into the last bit of manageable schedule. After UVA, NC State has a home series against Wake Forest, then a tough road trip to Georgia Tech, followed by a home series against Duke.

That's either where it comes together or it crumbles. After Duke, State finishes with a trip to Clemson, a trip to Louisville, and a home series against UNC. All three of those teams are in the RPI top 10; their combined record is 59-15.

With quality opponents there is opportunity to gain ground, but if State needs another rally down the stretch--like it did a year ago--it's going to be a little more difficult this time around. That's why taking advantage of the relatively light front half of the schedule is important.