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Opponent Preview: Wilmington

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Meet the Seahawks... our baseball brothers from the coast

NCAA Basketball Tournament - UNC Wilmington v Virginia Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: UNC-Wilmington

Mascot: Don’t feed the seabirds! | School Location: Wilmington, NC | Conference: Colonial

2019 Record: 20-17 (5-4, 4th) | 2018 RPI Rank: 200

2018 Record: 39-23 (14-9*, 4th) | 2018 RPI Rank: 60

2017 Record: 30-29 (16-8, 2nd) | 2017 RPI Rank: 138

*2018 Colonial Tournament Champions


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: Brooks Field (Wilmington, NC)

Game Time(s): Tuesday, April 16 @ 6:00pm

TV: Seahawk Digital Network

Radio: WKNC 88.1 in Raleigh, GoPack All-Access

Live Stats: UNCW StatBroadcast


Tell me about this team

First, let’s take a look at what was said about Wilmington from our 2019 Season Preview:

The Seahawks lose their two most productive hitters from a year ago (1B Mason Berne and C Ryan Jeffers, both 2018 MLB Draft picks), but return pretty much everyone else of note. SS Greg Jones (.278/.412/.370, 4 HR, 19 HBP, 16 SB), a top 2019 MLB Draft prospect as a draft-eligible sophomore, leads a solid core that also includes RS-JR OF Kep Brown (.267/.323/.459, 12 2B, 7 HR), JR 3B Cole Weiss (.264/.335/.357, 9 2B, 4 HR), and SO OF Noah Bridges (.247/.307/.313, 9 2B, 14 SB). FR OF Chris Thorburn from Raleigh’s Cardinal Gibbons HS, FR C Matt Suggs, and FR INF Brooks Baldwin should all make immediate contributions in the lineup. SO RHPs Gage Herring (2-1, 2.68 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, .207 OBA) and Landen Roupp (0-3, 3.58 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, .254 OBA) return to a starting rotation that must replace 8th round MLB Draft pick (Cleveland Indians) Alex Royalty. The bullpen loses three of its top arms, but does return proven entities in SR LHP Justin Walke (4-1, 1 SV, 3.32 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .252 OBA), RS-SR LHP Blake Morgan (2-1 1 SV, 3.60 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, .198 OBA), JR RHP Luke Gesell (3-2, 3.37 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, .231 OBA), and JR RHP Henry Ryan (3-0, 1.11 ERA, 0.95, .145 OBA). The team also has the younger brother of Brock Deatherage \m/ at its disposal. Blake Deatherage is a SR IF/RHP who pitched 17.2 IP last year and had 15 PA. FR RHPs Jason Hudak, Mike Picollo (a 2018 33rd round MLB Draft pick by the Mets), and Brooks Baldwin could and should get early opportunities on the mound.

2019 Projected Record: 35-20 (15-9)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes

As Mark Scalf comes down the closing stretch of his final season at the helm in Wilmington, his team is in a win-now position if he hopes for one last NCAA tournament appearance. This is far from his best Seahawks team, but it’s still in a good shape in terms of conference standings and the ability to win the regular season crown. While currently in 4th place, they just took two-of-three from Northeastern (3rd place, 0.5 games up on UNCW) and they also have series left with 1st place Elon and 2nd place Charleston. Additionally, they still have Delaware and Hoftra on the remaining slate, two of the worst teams in the Colonial.

This Seahawks team is built on pitching and that pitching has delivered. The solid-but-unspectacular 4.05 team ERA isn’t going to blow your socks off, but this team is 20th in the country in hits allowed per nine innings and is just outside the Top 25 in team WHIP (1.27).

Offensively, there are some good pieces (Greg Jones is a 1st round MLB Draft talent), but enough holes and inconsistency in the lineup that it’s hurt the team. They do have a lot of team speed, though, and will try to take the extra base at any given instance. The Seahawks rank 12th in the country in triples and 29th in stolen bases (Jones is 9th among individual players nationally in stolen bases).


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Tuesday: Dude McMann (not a real player)


Key Players:

Offense

SS Greg Jones (SO) - .321 BA, .474 OBP, .481 SLG, 131 AB, 5 2B, 5 3B, 2 HR, 41 R, 19 RBI, 34 BB, 24 K, 26-29 SB. A draft-eligible sophomore who was a 17th round pick (Orioles) out of local Cary HS, Jones will be no worse than a 2nd round pick coming up in this year’s draft, but he’s likely a 1st rounder. If he doesn’t stick at SS at the next level, he can move to either 2B or any of the OF spots given his vast array of talents. Currently on a 10-game hitting streak.

DH/RF Kep Brown (RS-JR) - .297 BA, .363 OBP, .507 SLG, 138 AB, 7 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 25 R, 37 RBI, 12 BB, 34 K, 3-4 SB. A big 6’7, 230 lbs right-handed hitter, Brown was a 10th round pick (Cardinals) in 2015 out of high school, but chose to honor his commitment to Miami. He never made it to the Hurricanes, though, and went the JUCO route. Strikes out a decent amount and hardly walks, but has a 20-game hitting streak going.

3B Cole Weiss (JR) - .297 BA, .386 OBP, .412 SLG, 148 AB, 5 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 20 R, 31 RBI, 20 BB, 21 K, 3-6 SB. The 6’4 left-handed hitting Weiss has steadily improved year-over-year at Wilmington and is now one of the better hitters on the team. If he hit for more power, he’d be a pro prospect. After being an under 1:2 BB:K guy over his first two years, he’s an even guy now, both cutting down significantly on the K’s and walking at a higher clip.

DH/UTIL Doug Angeli (SO) - .278 BA, .405 OBP, .333 SLG, 90 AB, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 15 R, 12 RBI, 17 BB, 37 K, 1-2 SB. Angeli started 26 games this season, but didn’t start this past weekend against Northeastern and only garnered one pinch-hit at-bat. Not sure what’s going on there, but he’s one of the top OBP guys on the team, even though his BB:K rate is pretty atrocious.

1B Brooks Baldwin (FR) - .241 BA, .325 OBP, .418 SLG, 141 AB, 9 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 22 R, 26 RBI, 19 BB, 37 K, 4-5 SB. The left-handed hitter and nephew of UNCW Head Coach Mark Scalf is a very talented freshman with a bright future. Not sure he sticks at 1B for the entirety of his career. Leads the team in doubles and is second in home runs.

Pitching

LHP Blake Morgan (RS-SR) - 2-2, 2 SV, 3.20 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, .153 OBA, 29.4 K%, 7.8 BB%, 25.1 IP, 13 H, 10 R, 9 ER, 8 BB, 30 K. Morgan started off his career at NC Central before going to JUCO (Pitt CC) and ending up at UNCW. He did start four games last year and although he hasn’t started one this year, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him get the ball to start off the game, although he’s doubtful to go long into it. He’s tuned down the walks considerably this year and his overall numbers have jumped dramatically as a result.

RHP Brody Lawson (RS-FR) - 3-1, 0 SV, 4.78 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, .225 OBA, 26.1 K%, 10.9 BB%, 37.2 IP, 31 H, 24 R, 20 ER, 18 BB, 43 K. Lawson got the nod on the mound in the second of UNCW’s midweek contests last week, going 3.1 hitless, scoreless innings against Campbell (he did walk two, hit a batter, and throw a wild pitch). Control can be an issue; he’s uncorked 12 wild pitches and hit 4 batters, and he’s yet to go an outing this year without issuing a walk.

RHP Gage Herring (SO) - 0-4, 0 SV, 4.26 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, .222 OBA, 26.4 K%, 13.5 BB%, 31.2 IP, 26 H, 20 R, 15 ER, 20 BB, 39 K. 2018 CAA All-Freshman Team selection that ended last year as a weekend starter. Herring made the other midweek start last week for UNCW, although his effort was much more forgettable. Against ECU, he allowed three runs (two earned) in 1.2 innings, giving up a hit, a walk, a HBP, and a wild pitch. He started the year as a member of the Seahawks weekend rotation, but got bumped from there after a bad March. Has really good stuff, but also control problems.

RHP Henry Ryan (JR) - 3-2, 2 SV, 2.49 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, .173 OBA, 21.1 K%, 13.3 BB%, 21.2 IP, 13 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 12 BB, 19 K. A big 6’5, 240 lbs righty. A former JUCO transfer who has been sensational in his two years as a reliever for the Seahawks. Originally signed with UNC out of Ardrey Kell HS, but never made it to campus. Hasn’t allowed a run in his last six outings.

RHP Nick Bruno (RS-SO) - 0-0, 0 SV, 8.56 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, .236 OBA, 29.0 K%, 9.7 BB%, 13.2 IP, 13 H, 14 R, 13 ER, 6 BB, 18 K. Bruno’s picture is featured on a UNCW tweet about the game, so maybe that’s an indication he’s starting this one for them. The big former high school football offensive lineman and one-time UNC baseball commitment missed all of his freshman season and part of his redshirt freshman year coming back from a major arm injury.


Quick! Fun Facts!

GoPack.com has put together a cool new little “History” feature on their page that details the series history between NC State and UNCW. Go check it out. It’s slick!

As you’ll see from the above linked page, NC State is 31-11 all-time versus UNCW, but just 11-9 on the road.

Greg Jones has stolen four bases in a game on three different occasions this season.


Prediction

This is shaping up to be a Johnny Wholestaff game from both staffs. Both teams have pretty even bullpens, but State has a more solid offensive lineup.

Outcome: NC State gets back in the good column, taking home a 7-5 win.