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NC State checks in at No. 6 in preseason poll

After coming painfully close to deep NCAA tournament runs the past two seasons, State is once again a threat to have an extended run.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

As usual, the ACC is a deep and talented baseball league, with three schools in the preseason top 10, including NC State at No. 6. The only team ranked higher than the Wolfpack is Florida State at No. 3.

NC State did lose some key pieces off of last year's team--notably first baseman Preston Palmeiro--but still returns a lot of experience. The bulk of the lineup returns intact, which should give the Pack an above-average offense once again. They'll miss Palmeiro's overall talents, Andrew Knizner's consistency behind the plate, and Chance Shepard's raw power, but a breakout year or two can mitigate those losses substantially.

Brian Brown returns to anchor the starting pitching staff for the third consecutive season, and while there are questions behind him, there's enough arm talent on the roster for the coaches to sort out the rotation without things becoming a disaster.

NC State opens its 2017 season with a three-game set at Hawaii beginning on Feb. 17.