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2019 NC State Baseball Preview - Part V: ACC Opponents

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With opening day quickly approaching, let’s take a look at the ACC opponents for the 2019 Wolfpack Baseball team

GoPack.com

Let’s take a look at the 2019 NC State Baseball team and begin to get a feel for the squad that will kick off their season at home against Bucknell on Friday, February 15, at 3:00pm.

In Part I of this series, we took a look back at the 2018 season and the players who are no longer with the program.

In Part II, we took a look at who all is back from that 2018 team.

Part III took a look at the fresh new faces of the 2019 squad.

Part IV was a look at the out-of-conference portion of the schedule.

Part V will take a look at the ACC opponents who will compete on the diamond versus the Wolfpack this year.

And if I can get the band back together, maybe we’ll do a nice little BTP roundtable. I don’t know! I don’t know if we’ll have enough time!

On to Part V...

ACC Opponents

(For a look at the full schedule, head on over to GoPack.com)


Pittsburgh

Game Dates: March 8, 9, 10

2018 Record: 29-26 (11-19) | 2018 RPI: 108

Brief Outlook:

Pitt Baseball will be starting over under new coach Mike Bell. SO DH/UTIL Ron Washington (.284/.333/.428, 7 2B, 6 HR), RS-JR SS David Yanni (.231/.378/.374, 9 2B, 5 HR, 43:48 BB:K), SO OF Chris Cappas (.298/.370/.362, 4 2B, 7 SB), SR C Cole MacLaren (.200/.370/..236, 6 2B, 39:27 BB:K), and SR OF Connor Perry (.191/.339/.265, 6 2B, 3 SB) are returning starters from what was a very weak lineup in 2018. This group is going to have to get better if they hope to make any noise in the ACC this year. That and hope for some solid contributions from newcomers and first-time starters. JR 2B Alex Amos (.252/.366/.260, 7 SB), a 2017 ACC All-Freshman selection, returns after missing the second half of last year due to injury. If Amos can return to his freshman year form (.304/.456/.348, 7 2B, 35:34 BB:K in 2017) that would be a huge boon to the offense. Several freshman should make immediate impacts. FR OF Kyle Hess, FR INF Andres Antonini, FR INF and All-Name Team candidate Sky Duff, FR C/INF Zach Klapak, FR INF Gregory Ryan, and FR INF Kris Soto should all compete for playing time.

RS-JR RHP Derek West (3-4, 3.24 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, .200 OBA) headlines the returning pitchers for the Panthers. The other returning weekend starter is (WARNING: This is about to be the best thing I’ve ever written) JR RHP Dan Hammer from Father Judge HS in Philadelphia. Hammer (2-6, 6.79 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, .274 OBA) didn’t exactly lay down the law last year on the mound, but he does have starting experience. SO RHP Chase Smith (1-1, 1 SV, 3.16 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, .191 OBA), RS-JR RHP Kevin Henriksen (1-2, 4.28 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, .275 OBA), and JR RHP Chris Gomez (2-1, 4.85 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, .265 OBA) are the top returning bullpen arms. FR LHP Mason Ronan was a 29th round selection (Red Sox) in last year’s MLB Draft and should be a weekend rotation guy right away. This kid is legit. High school teammates FR RHP Billy Corcoran, a 36th round MLB Draft Pick (Rangers), and FR RHP Brady Devereux are other freshman arms that should garner innings. JUCO LHP David Moore has an electric arm, but also a complete wild streak. If he can find the strike zone, he’ll get innings. JR RHP Christian Camacho, an Auburn transfer by way of JUCO ball, could also compete for a starting gig.

This is a young roster overall with 14 freshman and just four seniors, so things could get ugly this year as the Panthers build for the future. The freshman class is solid, though.

2019 Projected Record: 31-25 (10-20)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: No


Florida State

Game Dates: March 15, 16, 17

2018 Record: 43-19 (16-13) | 2018 RPI: 11

Brief Outlook:

It’s one last go-round for legendary coach Mike Martin at FSU. JR 3B Drew Mendoza (.313/.440/.491, 17 2B, 7 HR), a 2019 MLB Draft Top 50 prospect, is the key returnee of a group that otherwise has a lot of experience, but didn’t produce at a level that will replace what they lost from a year ago. SO OF Reese Albert (.268/.360/.452, 8 2B, 7 HR), SR SS Mike Salvatore (.244/.333/.298, 8 2B, 8 SB), and JR OF J.C. Flowers (.218/.383/.273, 6 2B) were all key starters from a year ago who return. Flowers was an All-ACC Freshman Team member in 2017, but couldn’t quite take the next step last year; the Seminoles need him to take that step this year. JR 1B/OF Nico Baldor, a transfer from Miami (yes, really, that Miami) by way of JUCO, should see a lot of playing time. Fellow JUCO transfer C Carter Smith should also contend for playing time. This is FSU, so talent among the freshman class is never lacking. C Matheu Nelson, SS Nander De Sedas, OF Elijah Cabell, and OF Robby Martin were all selected in the 2018 MLB Draft; they all may well start as freshmen. De Sedas was the 6th overall HS player in the 2018 recruiting class. Fellow freshmen 2B Alex Sanchez, 3B Cade Hungate, and OF Chris Ruckdeschel are all future studs, too.

JR LHP Drew Parrish (5-1, 2.52 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, .186 OBA) is the lone returning weekend starter, but it’s nice when that one returnee is your staff ace. SO RHP C.J. Van Eyk (7-0, 2 SV, 2.86 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, .208 OBA) is a walking nightmare for opponents. He should hit the starting weekend rotation this year. SO LHP Austin Pollock (4-4, 1 SV, 5.28 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, .282 OBA) was a midweek starter a year ago and has a chance to move into the weekend rotation with improvement. JR LHP Clayton Kwiatkowski (4-1, 2 SV, 3.18 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, .216 OBA), SO LHP Jonah Scolaro (2-1, 6 SV, 3.43 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, .264 OBA), and SO RHP Conor Grady (4-3, 2 SV, 4.34 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, .192 OBA) will lead the bullpen. The Seminoles relief pitching will also get a boost from the return of RS-JR RHP Chase Haney after he missed all of last year with an injury. Haney (3-2, 4.26 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, .263 OBA in 2017) was a key member of the ‘Noles ‘pen two years ago and should get his share of critical innings this year. FR RHPs Jack Anderson and Cole Beverlin will provide bullpen depth.

This may be Mike Martin’s last year at Florida State, but with this freshman class, he’s set up his successor very well.

2019 Projected Record: 42-14 (21-9)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes


Miami

Game Dates: March 22, 23, 24

2018 Record: 28-26 (16-13) | 2018 RPI: 65

Brief Outlook:

It’s really weird to think that Miami has missed the NCAA Tournament the last two years. It’s a pretty sad way for Jim Morris to have ended his long-time run as the head coach for the Hurricanes. But enough feeling bad for a guy who won a pair of national titles and got to Omaha so many times it would have been justified for him to buy a house there.

The Hurricanes took their lumps at times last year, but chose to build for the future with the #4 ranked 2017 recruiting class comprising the majority of their lineup (Miami had more starts by freshman than any other team in the country last year). SO SS Freddy Zamora (.303/.388/.412, 12 2B, 24:18 BB:K, 20 SB), SO C Isaac Quinones (.291/.380/.370, 10 2B), SO OF Dylan Cloonan (.289/.415/.402, 9 2B), SO 2B Willy Escala (.280/.373/.346, 6 2B, 7 SB), SO 1B Raymond Gil (.234/.317/.367, 6 2B), and SO OF Tony Jenkins (.218/.368/.327) all return. The growing pains they experienced last year should translate to more success this year. Joining that group will be another group of talented freshman, led by C/1B Adrian Del Castillo (a 36th round 2018 MLB Draft selection - White Sox), INF Anthony Villar (a 37th round 2018 MLB Draft selection - Cubs), and UTIL J.P. Gates. JR OF Chad Crosbie, a JUCO transfer who started his career at UC San Diego, could also see significant playing time.

On the mound, JR RHP Evan McKendry (7-6, 3.52 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, .239 OBA) is the lone weekend rotation returner and he’ll be the Friday starter for the ‘Canes. Joining McKendry in the weekend rotation will be SO RHP Chris McMahon (1-1, 4.44 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, .248 OBA) and JUCO transfer RS-JR RHP Brian Van Belle. SO RHP Daniel Federman (2-4, 2.25 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, .203 OBA), JR RHP Gregory Veliz (0-1, 3.12 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, .188 OBA), and SO LHP Jeremy Cook (0-0, 4.58 ERA, 2.08 WHIP, .280 OBA) will lead the bullpen that will need to develop a few more arms this year to provide more depth than they had a year ago (that sounds familiar). A pair of freshman arms who were both Top 100 national recruits in the 2018 class should make immediate impacts via the bullpen and/or midweek starts; RHP Slade Cecconi (38th round MLB Draft pick - Orioles) and LHP J.P. Gates. Fellow FR LHP Bailey Mantilla should also see some innings out of the bullpen. Miami also has a pair of impact arms from the JUCO route in JR RHPs Tyler Keysor and Mark Mixon.

The team is young again - there isn’t a single senior on this entire roster - but there’s far more upside this season.

2019 Projected Record: 35-21 (15-15)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes


Virginia

Game Dates: March 29, 30, 31

2018 Record: 29-25 (12-18) | 2018 RPI: 83

Brief Outlook:

2018 was the first time in 15 years under Brian O’Connor that Virginia finished with a losing ACC record and the first time they failed to reach 38 wins. It was also just the third time that the team finished outside of Top 25 in RPI (the other two times they finished 29th and 34th). Needless to say, don’t bet on that happening again.

RS-SO SS Tanner Morris (.298/.397/.374, 9 2B, 31:29 BB:K) is a highly-regarded MLB Draft prospect and will lead the Wahoos offense. SR 1B/3B Nate Eikhoff (.290/.386/.394, 9 2B, 30:24 BB:K), SO 1B/3B/OF Alex Tappen (.262/.321/.390, 13 2B, 4 HR), SR C Cameron Comer (.261/.389.406, 8 2B, 4 HR), and JR OF/INF Cayman Richardson (.256/.343/.301, 7 2B, 7 SB) also all return to the starting lineup. SR OF Cameron Simmons also returns after missing all of 2018 due to injury. Simmons (.352/.432/.563, 14 2B, 9 HR, 9 SB in 2017), a two-year starter prior to his injury, was still drafted in the 15th round of last year’s MLB Draft (Rangers) despite not stepping on the baseball field all year, if you want an indication of just how good he is. JUCO C Logan Michaels could push for playing time. FR INF Zack Gelof and FR C/INF Drew Hamrock could be impact players, as could FR OF/LHP Ben Harris.

The UVa pitching staff loses their three most accomplished starters from a year ago. SR RHP Evan Sperling (2-0, 3.64 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, .179 OBA) should step into a weekend rotation role. The bullpen at least returns SO LHP Andrew Abbott (3-4, 6 SV, 3.18 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .223 OBA), SR Riley Wilson (0-0, 3.26 ERA, 1.91 WHIP, .268 OBA), SR RHP Grant Donahue (1-2, 4.96 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, .230 OBA), JR RHP Noah Murdock (2-2, 5.40 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, .320 OBA), and SO RHP Kyle Whitten (2-1, 5.81 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, .271 OBA) to form the basis of what could be a strong relief unit. SR RHP Chesdin Harrington (3-2, 2.41 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, .160 OBA in 2017) returns after missing all of last year with an injury; he’s an impact arm. JUCO transfer SO RHP Blake Bales should also command innings on the mound. The freshman class provides an unreal amount of talented arms that could easily produce two weekend starters from the group. RHP Mike Vasil, LHP Brandon Neeck, LHP Ben Harris, and RHP Christian Sanchez are all studs. In addition to those four, RHP Zach Messinger, LHP Billy Price, and RHP Sen Kenneally are all really, really good. Seriously, that’s a ridiculous number of high-quality arms from a single recruiting class.

There’s a lot of talent, but also a lot of question marks, too. The difficult schedule won’t help, either, but should help bolster their NCAA tourney resume should they do well enough.

2019 Projected Record: 34-21 (15-15)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes


Boston College

Game Dates: April 5, 6, 7

2018 Record: 17-32 (7-22) | 2018 RPI: 172

Brief Outlook:

2018 Boston College Baseball: Not great, Bob.

2019 is a new year, though, with new promise. SO OF Chris Gallard (.316/.403/.398, 10 2B, 28 SB), JR 2B Brian Dempsey (.319/.414/.337, 23:25 BB:K, 7 SB), SR C Gian Martellini (.230/.330/.374, 9 2B, 4 HR), JR 1B/OF Jack Cunningham (.243/.340/.295, 9 2B, 8 SB), JR OF Dante Baldelli (.235/.359/.279, 5 2B, 11 HBP, 19 SB), and SR 3B Jake Alu (.216/.290/.307, 8 2B) all return. Gallard (a 2018 Freshman All-American) and Dempsey were two of the three best hitters on the team last year, so that’s a big help. Getting bigger contributions from the other returning starters will be key to BC getting out of the ACC cellar. There’s no JUCO help on the way, but FR C Peter Burns, FR INF/OF Sal Frelick, and FR INF Cody Morissette should all push for playing time.

SR LHP Dan Metzdorf (1-8, 5.74 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, .288 OBA) returns to the starting rotation. Unfortunately for BC, he was the least productive of their weekend arms last year. JR RHP Matt Gil (1-1, 3.60 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, .305 OBA) and SR RHP Jack Nelson (1-1, 5.53 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, .279 OBA) were the Eagles midweek starters a year ago and could be candidates to slide into weekend roles, although given their production, hopefully there are better options available. SR RHP Thomas Lane (3-5, 3 SV, 4.53 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, .158 OBA), SR LHP Zach Stromberg (2-0, 2.96 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, .286 OBA), SR RHP Sean Hughes (1-0, 3.24 ERA, 2.16 WHIP, .274 OBA), SR RHP John Witkowski (0-2, 2 SV, 7.20 ERA, 1.92 WHIP, .336 OBA), and RS-SO LHP Joey Walsh (2-1, 6.68 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, .310 OBA) all return to form the basis of the bullpen. The Eagles add two stud freshman pitchers in RHPs Mason Pelio and Travis Lane, both Top 250 national recruits. They should play significant roles on this year’s pitching staff. Fellow freshman arms RHP Emmet Sheehan and LHPs Samrath Singh and Ryan Smith should also contend for innings.

This team won’t be overly good, but they have just enough to be a thorn in the side, and should be building to a better 2020.

2019 Projected Record: 24-30 (10-20)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: No


Louisville

Game Dates: April 12, 13, 14

2018 Record: 45-19 (18-12) | 2018 RPI: 21

Brief Outlook:

For the first time since 2011, when they were still in the Big East, Louisville didn’t finish 1st in their conference/division for the regular season. Based on the team they have this year, that’s probably not the start of a trend.

JR 1B Logan Wyatt (.339/.490/.522, 22 2B, 6 HR, 63:37 BB:K), JR Danny Oriente (.331/.403/.416, 10 2B, 13:17 BB:K), JR OF Drew Campbell (.313/.374/.425, 8 2B), JR OF Jake Snider (.300/.423/.383, 12 2B, 24 SB), JR SS Tyler Fitzgerald (.264/.344/.378, 17 2B, 23 SB), JR 3B Justin Lavey (.248/.307/.360, 13 2B, 7 SB) all return to the starting lineup. JR OF Ethan Stringer (.276/.355/.429, 6 2B, 3 HR) and SO INF/OF Lucas Dunn (.303/.397/.439, 3 2B, 11:9 BB:K) are primed for a bigger roles. The Cardinals also return all of their catchers from last year, although none of them ran away with the job. This is Louisville under Dan McDonnell, so the incoming freshman are ridiculous. Among the Cardinal’s 3rd ranked 2018 recruiting class are INF/RHP Jared Poland, INF/OF Alex Binelas, INF Tim Borden, INF Andrew Benefield, and C Henry Davis. This is a stacked lineup with a ton of juniors, but these freshman will add quality depth at the very least.

JR LHP Nick Bennett (8-2, 2.84 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, .203 OBA), JR RHP Bobby Miller (6-1, 2.97 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, .198 OBA), and SO LHP Reid Detmers (4-2, 4.85 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, .223 OBA) are the likely weekend rotation starters - at least unless a freshman arm pops up to nab one of those spots. SR RHP Bryan Hoeing (7-2, 2.88 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, .240 OBA), JR RHP Shay Smiddy (5-1, 3 SV, 2.96 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, .223 OBA), and JR LHP Adam Elliott (0-1, 2 SV, 0.00 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, .171 OBA) are three strong returning bullpen arms. Hoeing and Smiddy also have starting experience. JUCO JR RHP Luke Smith should factor into the pitching staff in a decent capacity. There are any number of freshman arms that have the ability to contribute, if not dominate, right away. RHPs Kerry Wright, Jack Perkins, and Jared Poland, along with LHP Carter Lohman, were all Top 125 recruits. FR LHP Garrett Schmeltz is a hometown kid who put up video game numbers in high school (40 W, 412 K in his career).

This Louisville team will be the class of the ACC, but unfortunately for them, they have a tougher ACC slate than Florida State or Clemson with the cross-division series.

2019 Projected Record: 43-13 (20-10)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes


Wake Forest

Game Dates: April 18, 19, 20

2018 Record: 25-32 (13-17) | 2018 RPI: 71

Brief Outlook:

Wake returns nine of their top ten hitters from a year ago. SR 2B Jake Mueller (.303/.420/.360, 43:30 BB:K, 18 SB), JR SS/UTIL Patrick Frick (.290/.405/.391, 12 2B, 36:27 BB:K), SO 1B Bobby Seymour (.286/.342/.441, 12 2B, 7 HR), SO OF Chris Lanzilli (.268/.378/.529, 13 2B, 9 HR), SO OF Michael Ludowig (.267/.350/.335, 8 2B, 10 SB), SO OF DJ Poteet (.255/.385/.462, 7 2B, 9 HR), SO C Shane Muntz (.253/.353/.406, 11 2B, 5 HR), SR C Logan Harvey (.215/.316/.264, 8 2B), and JR OF Christian Long (.224/.341/.319) all return. This is an offensive attack primed to improve by leaps and bounds. FR C Brendan Tinsman has an opportunity for some early playing time, as do FR INFs Michael Turconi and Michael Wein.

The Demon Deacons lose their top starter and top reliever from a year ago. JR RHP Colin Peluse (6-2, 3.87 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, .233 OBA) and JR RHP Morgan McSweeney (2-6, 4.44 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, .248 OBA) return two-thirds of last year’s weekend rotation. SO LHP Jared Shuster (0-3, 7.41 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, .233 OBA) was the primary midweek starter for the Deacs a year ago and is a candidate to step into the weekend rotation. SR LHP Tyler Witt (2-4, 2 SV, 5.26 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, .299 OBA) and RS-JR LHP Bobby Hearn (1-2, 1 SV, 5.67 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, .260 OBA) will lead the bullpen. JR RHP Reese Robinson is a transfer from Cincinnati who should add bullpen depth. Given the limited number of proven arms, several freshman should get plenty of opportunities to make an impact. FR RHPs Ryan Cusick, Wyatt Beddow, and Shane Smith, and FR LHP Brennen Oxford are all talented arms.

The hitting will be there, the question is whether the pitching staff can pull their own weight. The Deacons should pound out midweek wins with their bats, but unless the freshman pitchers show out, that bullpen is going to get abused in ACC play.

2019 Projected Record: 29-27 (12-18)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: No


Notre Dame

Game Dates: April 26, 27, 28

2018 Record: 24-30 (12-18) | 2018 RPI: 102

Brief Outlook:

Notre Dame needs to replace five of their top hitters from a year ago. SR OF Eric Gilgenbach (.270/.361/.506, 11 2B, 10 HR, 5 SB), SO 3B/OF Niko Kavadas (.299/.409/.445, 5 HR), and JR 1B/OF Daniel Jung (.274/.349/.405, 13 2B) are back to lead a rebuilt lineup. SO OF/INF Spencer Myers (.239/.330/.261, 4 SB) and SO C David LaManna (.234/.274/.281, 5 2B) also return with a good deal of starting experience under their belts. Gigantic multi-talented human being LHP Cole Kmet, the SO Closer and Notre Dame Football Tight End, should see opportunities with the bat this year. JUCO transfer JR INF Ethan Copeland should compete for a starting spot in the field. The Irish freshman class features seven position players, and they’re going to need a few of them to step up this year.

SO LHP Tommy Sheehan (2-4, 5.74 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, .271 OBA) returns as a weekend starter. JR RHP Cameron Junker (1-4, 8.74 ERA, 1.86 WHIP, .290 OBA), JR RHP Zack Martin (2-2, 1 SV, 4.60 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, .255 OBA), and JR LHP Cameron Brown (2-2, 5.74 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, .275 OBA) all have starting experience and are are candidates for starting roles this year. JR RHP Andrew Belcik (2-3, 3 SV, 4.93 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, .226 OBA), SO LHP Cole Kmet (2-5, 8 SV, 5.05 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, .279 OBA), SO LHP Tommy Vail (3-2, 3.90 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, .231 OBA), JR RHP Jack Sheehan (0-0, 6.85 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, .340 OBA), and JR RHP Anthony Holubecki (3-2, 7.09 ERA, 1.87 WHIP, .308 OBA) return a ton of relief innings, but with incredibly mixed results. FR RHP Mitch Megias was a highly rated recruit and should get an opportunity for innings.

2019 Projected Record: 24-29 (8-22)

NCAA Tournament Bound?:


Clemson

Game Dates: May 10, 11, 12

2018 Record: 47-16 (22-8) | 2018 RPI: 13

Brief Outlook:

Clemson loses a lot of production on offense, but also returns several key members, led by juniors SS Logan Davidson (.292/.408/.544, 18 2B, 15 HR, 10 SB) and C Kyle Wilkie (.324/.422/.440, 10 2B, 5 HR). Davidson is a Top 50 prospect for this year’s MLB Draft. SR 2B Jordan Greene (.250/.398/.404, 6 2B, 5 HR, 8 SB) and RS-SR 2B/3B/DH Grayson Byrd (.243/.309/.439, 9 HR) are also returning starters with a lot of experience. JUCO transfer RS-SO OF Michael Green should contend for playing time. SO OF Kier Meredith (.195/.411/.341, 4 SB over 41 AB) and fellow SO OF Bryce Teodosio (.165/.283/.367, 4 2B, 4 HR over 79 AB) will look for expanded roles now that they are both back to full health. SO INF/OF Sam Hall (.239/.341/.289, 6 2B) is another player who should get increased playing time with so many of last year’s starters no longer in his way. FR C Adam Hackenberg and FR SS James Parker are stuck behind two of the best in the ACC at their respective positions, but they’re guys to keep an eye on in 2020.

SR RHP Brooks Crawford (8-2, 3.24 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, .234 OBA), FR RHP Davis Sharpe, and FR LHP Justin Wrobleski will open the season as the weekend rotation. JR LHP Jacob Hennessy (4-3, 3.91 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .259 OBA) spent the entire 2018 season in the weekend rotation on a 47-win team, so it’s surprising to see him bumped out of that role. Should one of the freshman starters falter, the Tigers have a proven replacement at the ready. JR RHP Carson Spiers (2-2, 4 SV, 2.08 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, .149 OBA), RS-SO LHP Mat Clark (4-0, 1.69 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, .217 OBA), SO RHP Spencer Strider (5-2, 1 SV, 4.76 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, .215 OBA), RS-SO RHP Travis Marr (6-2, 6.04 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, .307 OBA), and SO RHP Holt Jones (2-0, 4.41 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, .254 OBA) return to the form the heart of the bullpen. SR RHP Luke Sommerfield is a graduate transfer from Saint Louis (1-0, 2 SV, 2.59 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, .213 OBA at SLU); he should be a key contributor to the bullpen. FR RHP Carter Raffield and FR LHP Keyshawn Askew should also earn solid innings in relief for the Tigers.

This will be a Clemson rebuilding year, which means they’ll be a regional host.

2019 Projected Record: 41-15 (21-9)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes


UNC-Chapel Hill

Game Dates: May 16, 17, 18

2018 Record: 44-20 (22-8) | 2018 RPI: 5

Brief Outlook:

JR 1B Michael Busch (.317/.465/.521, 10 2B, 13 HR, 55:30 BB:K, 8 SB), JR 2B/SS Ike Freeman (.305/.383/.377, 5 2B, 26:25 BB:K), JR OF/2B/3B Ashton McGee (.257/.367/.366, 7 2B, 4 3B), JR C Brandon Martorano (.246/.375/.491, 11 2B, 9 HR), and RS-JR OF Dallas Tessar (.231/.319/.316) are returning starters from last year’s lineup. Busch is a Top 50 MLB Draft prospect for 2019. JUCO transfer JR OF Dylan Harris should be a starter. OF Cameran Brantley, C/OF Caleb Roberts, 1B Aaron Sabato, and 2B/SS Danny Serretti are potential impact freshmen.

JR RHP Austin Bergner (7-3, 1 SV, 4.25 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .243 OBA), JR RHP Tyler Baum (4-1, 4.57 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, .240 OBA), and JR RHP Gianluca Dalatri (2-2, 3.33 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, .310 OBA) all return to form the weekend rotation. SO LHP Caden O’Brien (7-0, 2.62 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, .185 OBA), SO RHP Joey Lancellotti (3-3, 1 SV, 3.96 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .191 OBA), and SO RHP Ben Casparius (1-0, 1.69 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, .118 OBA in 10.2 IP) are the only returning bullpen arms who threw double-digit innings last year. JUCO transfer JR RHP Andrew Grogan is a candidate to eat up a lot of bullpen innings. The top two UNC pitching recruits went pro after being drafted, but there are still a few quality freshman arms that should contribute via the bullpen. RHPs Connor Ollio, Josh Dotson, Nik Pry, and Davis Palermo, along with LHP Will Sandy, will offer bullpen relief options.

The lineup has a few studs and the weekend rotation has the potential to be the best in college baseball, but there are still several holes in the lineup and question marks past the top two bullpen arms. Talent is there, though, so the Tar Heels should still be among the best in the ACC Coastal Division.

2019 Projected Record: 40-15 (19-11)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes