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NC State Baseball - Opponent Preview: Campbell (Part Trois)

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Meet the Fighting Camels... They’re the killers of the weak

GoPack.com

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: Campbell

Mascot: Fighting Camels | School Location: Buies Creek, NC | Conference: Big South

2018 Record: 23-18 (15-3, 1st) | 2018 RPI Rank: 147

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: Wednesday, May 2 @ 6:00pm

TV: ACC Network Extra

Radio: WKNC 88.1 in Raleigh

Live Stats: http://www.sidearmstats.com/ncsu/baseball/


Tell me about this team

Feel free to look back at the previews of Campbell from before the first two games against the Camels earlier in the year: Game 1 Preview / Game 2 Preview

This Campbell team is pretty much exactly who we thought they were going to be: a likely Big South Conference championship team sitting outside of the Top 100 in the RPI, beating up on the weak teams on their schedule (read: Big South opponents) while struggling against the stronger teams (Top 100 RPI opponents).

Well, if they aren’t that pretty much to a ‘T’, then I don’t know what they are. The Camels are 0-9 against RPI Top 100 teams (all non-conference), while going 23-9 against everyone else, including a 21-5 record against teams outside of the RPI Top 150. Only one of their conference opponents to date has ranked higher than 150 in RPI (Liberty, RPI #115).

Of the Camels 13 remaining games, four are against non-conference Top-50 RPI opponents (NC State, Ohio State (2 games), East Carolina), and they also have an in-conference series this weekend against the highest RPI-ranked Big South team remaining on their schedule in High Point (RPI #118). This is an important stretch for Campbell, and while putting all their eggs in midweek baskets to nab a Top-50 RPI win would be nice, they really should save the bullpen and concentrate on the High Point series so they can work on locking up the regular season Big South championship. Really, their only path to the NCAA Tournament is likely a Big South Tournament championship.

Key Players:

Offense

OF Matthew Barefoot (RS-SO) - .327 BA, .460 OBP, .503 SLG, 147 AB, 11 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 33 R, 19 RBI, 22 BB, 27 K, 22-25 SB. In the first preview, I called Barefoot “an incredibly talented weapon for this team” and that “it’s not the worst thing to pitch around this guy”. Yep, not much has changed. The 6’0, 205 lbs draft-eligible sophomore with speed to burn who slashed .335/.400/.537 with 22 2B and 8 HR in 2017 is going to be at least a Top 10 round MLB draft pick come June. He’s had multi-hit efforts in five of the last eight Camels games.

2B Christian Jones (SR) - .287 BA, .377 OBP, .573 SLG, 150 AB, 7 2B, 0 3B, 12 HR, 33 R, 43 RBI, 14 BB, 39 K, 3-5 SB. Since last time the two teams met, Jones has been mashing the ball, hitting a HR almost once every 10 ABs, although he is just 3-for-22 over the last six games. Still, Jones has been a monster this year, and with few true offensive threats in the Camels lineup, the State pitching staff can afford to work around Jones a bit.

C Zach Minnick (JR) - .264 BA, .351 OBP, .426 SLG, 129 AB, 6 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 24 R, 19 RBI, 11 BB, 27 K, 4-5 SB. Minnick has been solid this year. He’s had a hit in 7 of the last 9 games after going hitless in the previous 8 games before that. Minnick has thrown out 15-of-42 attempted base stealers this season, but he’s also allowed 12 PBs.

OF Jeff Hahs (SR) - .291 BA, .390 OBP, .477 SLG, 86 AB, 7 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 15 R, 11 RBI, 12 BB, 22 K, 1-1 SB. Hahs was injured to start the year and didn’t appear in a game until mid-March. He slashed .313/.422/.552 with 14 2B, 10 HR, 45 R, and 44 RBI last year, so yeah, the dude is legit. The 6’3, 230 lbs former JUCO transfer is likely playing his way into a Top 10 round MLB draft pick (as a senior money saver, if nothing else) if his injury woes are behind him.

DH/C Ty Babin (FR) - .277 BA, .367 OBP, .330 SLG, 94 AB, 1 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 13 R, 20 RBI, 12 BB, 19 K, 2-2 SB. Babin must have battled some injury issues this year because he missed some significant time in late March/early April. He returned to the lineup in mid-April and he’s 11-for-34 over the last 10 games, including seven starts (why he wouldn’t be in the batting lineup on this team is beyond me).

Pitching

RHP Wes Noble (SR) - 4-5, 6.42 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, .275 OBA, 47.2 IP, 52 H, 35 R, 34 ER, 18 BB, 44 K. Noble, a regular in the weekend starting rotation after being exclusively a reliever over his first three years in Buies Creek, will be starting this mid-week game for the Camels. His first two starts of the year were fantastic in wins over Yale and St Johns (12.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 14 K combined), but he’s allowed at least three earned runs in each start since. Dude got beat up pretty good in starts vs Duke and UNC-Wilmington (7.1 IP, 15 H, 11 R, 11 ER, 3 BB, 6 K combined).

RHP Logan Bender (RS-FR) - 4-0, 1 SV. 1.50 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, .129 OBA, 30.0 IP, 13 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 20 BB, 47 K. Here’s what was written about Bender prior to the first match-up with the Camels back in early March: “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.” Well, that was pretty spot on! The second-year player from Dunn, NC, has allowed just one extra-base hit (a double) all year.

RHP Harry Thomas (RS-SR) - 2-0, 0 SV, 3.16 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, .243 OBA, 25.2 IP, 25 H, 12 R, 9 ER, 7 BB, 24 K. The former JUCO All-American has been solid for the Camels this year. Remove the 1.2 IP, 4 ER outing vs Charleston Southern, and his numbers are very impressive.

RHP Tyson Messer (JR) - 0-2, 6 SV, 3.98 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, .209 OBA, 20.1 IP, 14 H, 11 R, 9 ER, 20 BB, 23 K. In the homestretch of his third year on the Camels staff, Messer has walked 84 batters in 89.1 career innings. If you were wondering how a pitcher who’s holding opposing hitters to a .209 batting average has a 1.67 WHIP, there’s your answer. The team’s closer has struck out almost a batter per inning (88 total) in his career, so he has good stuff.

RHP Jack Yusko (SO) - 0-0, 0 SV, 0.75 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .262 OBA, 12.0 IP, 11 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 10 K. Yusko has been a short-usage reliever, with only one outing this year of greater than 1.0 IP. The sophomore rock-skipping style sidearmer from Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh has been a little lucky this year to sport such a low ERA considering his OBA and WHIP.


Quick! Fun Facts!

NC State leads the all-time series with Campbell 50-15-1.

If the walk-up song for Campbell SR OF Jeff Hahs isn’t by Juvenile, I’m going to be massively disappointed. “You gonna go get an at-bat, ha. You gonna try for that double, ha. Get thrown out goin’ for them extra bases, ha.”

I can’t decide if Campbell SR starting pitcher Wes Noble looks like a generic store-brand Professor X, or if he’s just really a big fan of Mac in Episode 9 of Season 4 of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

“Mr. Bovine Joni himself!”

Prediction

Gauthier allows a pair of runs over 5+ innings, while the Wolfpack bullpen shuts it down (almost completely) in a collaborative effort. The Wolfpack bats also come alive, including putting up a 4 spot in one of the middle innings.

State wins 9-3.