Who’s the Pack playing?
Mascot: Fighting Camels | School Location: Buies Creek, NC | Conference: Big South
2018 Record: 3-6 (0-0, T-1st) | 2018 RPI Rank: N/A
2017 Record: 25-32 (10-14, 8th) | 2017 RPI Rank: 220
2016 Record: 26-27 (13-11, 5th) | 2016 RPI Rank: 159
When? Where? How do I watch?
Location: NC State’s Doak Field at Dail Park, Raleigh, NC
Game Time: Saturday, Mar 3 @ 2:00pm
Radio: WKNC 88.1 in Raleigh
Live Stats: http://www.sidearmstats.com/ncsu/baseball/
Tell me about this team
Campbell started off the year with a tough schedule, playing an opening three-game series against Top-25 St Johns and then playing the following midweek game against a resurgent East Carolina squad. They came out of that opening four game stretch with an unsurprising 0-4 record, but played well for the most part and have gone 3-2 since.
Is this team going to be good enough to reverse the slide of the last two years and revert the program back to the Top-100 RPI level status that it maintained from 2012-2015? Time will tell, but the non-conference schedule is better this year and the team returns a good number of experienced players that the turnaround could - and probably should - happen, albeit not quite to that Top-100 RPI level.
Offensively, well... things haven’t been great thus far. As mentioned above, a contributing factor of that could be due to the four game opening stretch of the season, as well as being without starting C Zach Minnick for five games. Either way, the production has been lacking to this point with a team slash line of .236/.346/.289 (compare that to State’s .345/.432/.595).
As under-performing as the offense has been, the Camels are more than holding their own on the mound, limiting opponents to a paltry slash line of .223/.313/.311 and racking up 93 K in 84.0 IP. The Campbell pitching staff has a solid and experienced starting rotation to go along with a handful of capable and dependable relievers. Mix that with Campbell’s solid defense across the diamond and that’s a recipe to be in and win a lot of games.
OF Matthew Barefoot (SO) - .273 BA, .415 OBP, .394 SLG, 33 AB, 1 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 10 R, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 7 K, 8-9 SB in 2018. The extra base hits are down early this year, but make no mistake about it: Barefoot is an incredibly talented weapon for this team. He slashed .335/.400/.537 with 22 2B and 8 HR last year. It’s not the worst thing to pitch around this guy. Seriously, don’t let him hurt you.
C Zach Minnick (JR) - .286 BA, .375 OBP, .286 SLG, 33 AB, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 1 R, 0 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K, 1-1 SB in 2018. Minnick just returned Friday after missing the previous five games. His return should help bolster an offense that has struggled thus far this year, as he slashed .294/.389/.463 with 10 2B and 5 HR a year ago. His return should help defensively, as well. A year ago, Minnick gunned down a shade under 40% of would-be base stealers, while his fill-in during his absence this year has been run on egregiously (1 CS in 17 SBA).
2B Christian Jones (SR) - .323 BA, .382 OBP, .484 SLG, 31 AB, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 4 R, 9 RBI, 1 BB, 10 K, 0-0 SB in 2018. Jones offensive production this year has been a revelation for an otherwise struggling lineup, especially considering he has never been an offensive weapon in the college ranks, not even during his days in JUCO ball. In 2017, he slashed just .210/.278/.352 with 14 XBH, 13 BB, and 56 K over 194 PA, so his newfound offensive proclivity (even with the maintained high K-rate) has been a welcomed addition for the Camels.
RHP Michael Horrell (JR) - 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, .214 OBA, 11.0 IP, 9 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 K in 2018. Horrell is the man the Wolfpack will be facing on Saturday... and the dude is off to a great start to 2018. After a short, but successful, start against St John’s on opening weekend, he destroyed Western Michigan last weekend to the tune of 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, and 10 K on 90 pitches. This guy worries me.
RHP Harry Thomas (RS-SR) - 0-0, 0 SV, 1.59 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, .200 OBA, 5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K in 2018. Thomas was one of the top two bullpen arms for Campbell in 2017 where he went 2-2 with 2 SV, a 3.93 ERA, and .254 OBA. He reprises that role again in 2018 where he’s off to a very successful start. Given the usage of the other bullpen arms this week, I would expect Thomas to be the first man out of the pen.
RHP Tyson Messer (JR) - 0-2, 5.79 ERA, 1 SV, 0.86 WHIP, .286 OBA, 4.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K in 2018. Messer lacked control on the mound in 2017, walking 41 batters in 40.2 IP, but thus far in 2018 has found that missing control. He has very good stuff, though (you know, when he’s not walking batters), striking out almost a batter per inning over his career. I’d expect for him to be the second man out of the pen after Thomas.
RHP Logan Bender (RS-FR) - 0-0, 1.23 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, .148 OBA, 7.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 8 BB, 13 K in 2018. Bender was a late bloomer at Triton HS, where he struggled with control throughout his career. He has an electric arm, getting very good velocity and movement on his pitches, but the lack of control he showed in high school has followed him to the smaller strike zones of the collegiate level. Still, this kid has the stuff to shut down even the best of hitters on a given night. Bender did pitch on Friday (28 pitches).
RHP Alex Yarem (RS-JR) - 0-1, 0 SV, 7.11 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, .217 OBA, 6.1 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 7 K in 2018. Don’t let the early season ERA fool you, along with Thomas, Yarem has been the other top bullpen arm for Campbell over the last two years; although Yarem does get more run as a spot starter between the two of them. Yarem pitched in both Wednesday’s (9 pitches) and Friday’s (34 pitches) games this week, so I would be surprised to see him on the mound tomorrow, but he could be the midweek starter for Campbell when they host State on Wed, Mar 7.
Quick! Fun Facts!
NC State leads the all-time series with Campbell 48-15-1.
Campbell’s first season of baseball was in 1963 and the program holds an all-time record of 1,132-1,289-6.
The program has two NCAA Tournament appearances in its history: 1990 and 2014.
SR RHP Wes Noble looks like a high school substitute teacher who spends his lunch break yelling at freshmen for running in the halls.
State’s riding high right now and playing some really good baseball. It’s really hard to pick against this team, although I feel like this game will be much tighter than State’s been used to over the last five games.