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2020 NC State Baseball Preview - Part V: ACC Opponents

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We’re closing in on the start of the college baseball season, so let’s take a look at the team

NC State vs. Vanderbilt Travis Long/Raleigh News & Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

With the 2020 season within sight, now is as good of a time as any to take a look at the NC State Wolfpack squad that will hit the diamond this spring.

  • Part I of this series was a look back at the 2019 season and the players who are now gone.
  • Part II took a look at the returnees from that 2019 team.
  • Part III was a look at the newcomers for 2020.
  • Part IV (here is the first half of it, second half here) took a look at the non-conference schedule.
  • Part V will review the ACC schedule and opponents.

So let’s get started!

ACC Opponents

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


Virginia

Location: Away

Game Dates: March 6, 7, 8

2019 Record: 32-24 (14-16) | 2019 RPI: 49

Brief Outlook:

While they won’t be national title contenders, Virginia’s going to be a whole lot closer this year to being back to what you expect a Virginia baseball team to be... which of course is great since State has them on the schedule.

SO 2B Nic Kent (.337 BA/.417 OBP/.455 SLG, 9 2B, 3 HR, 17-21 SB), JR C/OF Brendan Rivoli (.320/.386/.466, 13 2B, 5 HR), SO 3B Zack Gelof (.313/.377/.396, 13 2B, 2 HR, 16-19 SB), and SR C Logan Michaels (.311/.380/.341, 4 2B) are back to lead a lineup that needs to replace star SS Tanner Morris and two-thirds of the outfield. A pair of JUCO transfers figure to step into immediate roles in JR INF Walker Jenkins and JR OF Marc Lebreux. FR OFs Chris Newell and Evan Sleight are legit and at least one will earn a starting job immediately. FR C/1B Tate Ballestero will push for playing time early at 1B, while FR INF Max Cotier is a future stud middle infielder for the Hoos. The team does get JR (rSO?) OF Christian Hlinka back after he missed 2019 due to injury. Two-way INF/RHP Devin Ortiz (.421/.478/.579, 1 HR in 24 PA) is another candidate to see more time in the lineup, either at DH or 1B.

The pitching staff will be counting on SO RHP Mike Vasil (2-6, 5.93 ERA/1.56 WHIP/.294 OBA, 57.2 IP, 40 K) and JR RHP Griff McGarry (3-5, 4.56/1.80/.216, 53.1 IP, 64 K) to take big steps forward. Both players were considered high end draft prospects coming out of high school, but were firm in their commitments to UVa. If they can each find the zone more consistently and pitch to their talent level, they’ll both fly up draft boards (2020 for McGarry, 2021 for Vasil). JR LHP Andrew Abbott (2-3, 3 SV, 3.89/1.48/.245, 44.0 IP, 59 K), JR RHP Devin Ortiz (4-0, 1 SV, 1.78/1.08/.215, 35.1 IP, 38 K), and rSR Chesdin Harrington (5-1, 3.49/1.37/.279, 59.1 IP, 64 K) are three talented arms that the bullpen will build around. The third starter spot is likely FR LHP Nate Savino’s to lose, but a return to full health of rSR RHP Evan Sperling - and finally pitching to his abilities - could push Savino into a different role. Graduate transfer SR RHP Stephen Schoch will add different dimension to the bullpen as a sidearmer. It’s Virginia, so you know Savino isn’t the only talented arm in the freshman class. FR RHP Jayson Hoopes and FR LHP Griff Agee should contribute this year, and the team will also benefit from the debuts of a pair of redshirt freshmen, RHP Christian Sanchez and LHP Brandon Neeck, both of whom missed last year with injuries.

2020 Projected Record: 37-19 (17-13)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes


Boston College

Location: Home

Game Dates: March 13, 14, 15

2019 Record: 31-27 (12-18) | 2019 RPI: 56

Brief Outlook:

The Eagles return seven position players who started at least half of the team’s games last year, with SO 2B Cody Morissette (.320/.371/.476, 20 2B, 4 HR, 8-11 SB), SO OF Sal Frelick (.367/.447/.513, 8 2B, 4 HR, 22:16 BB:K, 18-21 SB), SR SS Brian Dempsey (.295/.383/.388, 8 2B, 3 HR, 31:31 BB:K, 11-16 SB), SR 1B Jack Cunningham (.274/.370/.470, 12 2B, 9 HR), and SR OF Joe Suozzi (.282/.363/.423, 8 2B, 3 HR) leading the way. FR INF Luke Gold is a candidate to fill the open spot at 3B.

SO RHP Mason Pelio (4-3, 3.63/1.18/.194, 72.0 IP, 62 K) is back to lead a weekend rotation that needs to find two other starters. SO RHP Joe Mancini (3-6, 5.94/1.42/.257, 53.0 IP, 31 K) is a likely candidate to fill one of those two spots. The bullpen also is in a rebuild state as they lose their top three arms. SO RHP Travis Lane (1-0, 1 SV, 3.90/1.87/.234, 30.0 IP, 22 K) is good at inducing weak contact, but struggles with command. Redshirt-junior LHP Joey Walsh (5-6, 2 SV, 6.35/1.73/.289, 56.2 IP, 49 K) figures to play a big role in the bullpen if he doesn’t earn a rotation gig.

This is a young team overall (23 players are freshmen or sophomores), so improvement seems likely. The freshman class is pretty solid (for BC) with all-around ball players (they feature four two-way players led by 1B/LHP Daniel Baruch and UTIL/RHP Jon Campbell, Jr.), but this team may still be a year away from taking the next step.

2020 Projected Record: 27-28 (10-20)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: No


Wake Forest

Location: Home

Game Dates: March 20, 21, 22

2019 Record: 31-26 (14-16) | 2019 RPI: 54

Brief Outlook:

The Wake Forest team is basically built like your modern day MLB team: Power everything. The offense is going to pound a bunch of homers and the pitching staff is going to roll out a bunch of dudes throwing in the mid-to-upper 90’s, and the coaching staff will hope that the rest falls into place. JR 1B Bobby Seymour (.377/.439/.576, 20 2B, 9 HR, 92 RBI), JR OF Chris Lanzilli (.347/.409/.620, 19 2B, 16 HR), JR DH Shane Muntz (.313/.477/.674, 6 2B, 14 HR), JR OF Michael Ludowig (.300/.405/.405, 9 2B, 3 HR), and SO C Brendan Tinsman (.265/.326/.529, 9 2B, 10 HR) all return to form the core of a lineup that will likely lead the ACC in home runs. Add to that group grad transfer William Simoneit (.299/.357/.493, 10 2B, 6 HR at Cornell), rFR Hite Merrifield, and impressive freshman class including INF/OF Adam Cecere and INF Parker Pilat, and this offense should hum in 2020.

JR LHP Jared Shuster (4-4, 6.49/1.76/.291, 68.0 IP, 94 K) and SO RHP Ryan Cusick (7-3, 6.44/1.74/.313, 65.2 IP, 55 K) return two-thirds of the weekend rotation. Despite his non-K numbers being pretty bad, Shuster had a great summer and fall and is shooting up 2020 MLB Draft boards. The strength of the pitching staff is the bullpen, and the top three arms are all back. JR RHP Antonio Melendez (6-1, 1 SV, .309/1.27/.221, 55.1 IP, 73 K), JR RHP William Fleming (1-4, 9 SV, 4.26/1.38/.256, 44.1 IP, 31 K), and rSR LHP Bobby Hearn (2-0, 3.31/1.32/.233, 32.2 IP, 27 K) combined to make 91 appearances last year. It appears that Fleming will be given a shot at the weekend rotation to start the year, but could always fall back to the closer role if he falters there or a better starting option emerges. If rFR RHP Shane Smith, rJR RHP Reese Robinson, and grad transfer SR Danny Barlok can get (and remain) healthy, they’ll be key pieces of the Deacs pitching staff. Smith is another contender for a weekend rotation gig. SR Riley Myers, a grad transfer from D-II Catawba College, will get the opportunity to contribute innings out of the bullpen. FR RHP Eric Adler and rFR LHP Brennen Oxford are talented young arms that could also provide an impact.

2020 Projected Record: 38-18 (17-13)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes


Florida State

Location: Away

Game Dates: March 27, 28, 29

2019 Record: 42-23 (17-13) | 2019 RPI: 33

Brief Outlook:

FSU made an incredible run in the postseason last year when all the pieces started to click, culminating in one final CWS appearance for out-going legendary coach Mike Martin. Martin’s son takes over this year (and his grandson is a freshman infielder on the team), and while you shouldn’t expect another CWS appearance, the team should be much better overall.

SO OF Robby Martin (.315/.398/.449, 17 2B, 4 HR), JR OF Reese Albert (.283/.390/.518, 6 2B, 3 3B, 9 HR), SO C Matheu Nelson (.282/.442/.442, 7 2B, 6 HR, 17 HBP), SO SS Nander De Sedas (.231/.353/.337, 8 2B, 4 HR), and SO OF Elijah Cabell (.220/.404/.415, 9 2B, 7 HR) are all back. That sophomore class is insanely talented, so expect big jumps in production. JUCO transfer JR INF Jackson Greene is a prime candidate to slot into the open role at 2B. It’s FSU, so you know the incoming freshman class is always stacked, but with openings at 1B, 2B, and 3B, a few names to watch out for are 1B Dylan Simmons, INF J.D. Tease, INF Caleb Cali, and UTIL Tyrell Brewer.

The pitching staff returns two members of the starting rotation in JR RHP C.J. Van Eyk (10-4, 3.81/1.31/.234, 99.1 IP, 129 K) and JR LHP Shane Drohan (3-1, 3.66/1.84/.242, 51.2 IP, 71 K). Van Eyk will be a 1st round MLB pick come June, while Drohan could rocket up draft boards if he can find the zone more consistently this year (48 BB, 7 WP last year). JR RHP Conor Grady (9-6, 3.64/1.24/.228, 64.1 IP, 71 K) flexed between the bullpen and a starting role last year, but should round out the weekend rotation. The bullpen has to replace their closer, but gets back rSR RHP Chase Haney (2-2, 1 SV, 2.41/0.91/.170, 37.1 IP, 36 K) for his 11th year in Tallahassee, as well as SR LHP Clayton Kwiatkowski (0-0, 4.00/1.50/.260, 36.0 IP, 40 K), SR LHP Antonio Velez (5-2, 1 SV, 4.17/1.26/.261, 45.1 IP, 50 K), and JR LHP Jonah Scolaro (3-2, 2 SV, 4.69/1.21/.197, 48.0 IP, 52 K). Expect Scolaro to move into the vacant closer role, a position he held as a Freshman All-American in 2018. JUCO transfer JR RHPs Davis Hare and Hunter Perdue should add depth to the bullpen. Like the freshman class of fielders, the pitchers are also stacked, but keep an eye on RHP Brandon Walker and LHPs Ryan Pettys and Bryce Hubbart.

2020 Projected Record: 37-18 (19-11)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes


Duke

Location: Home

Game Dates: April 3, 4, 5

2019 Record: 35-27 (15-15) | 2019 RPI: 32

Brief Outlook:

Oh, Duke. You know, that team that was a pushover in baseball forever and then hired Chris Pollard and is now apparently a Top 25 team. State gets to play them this year. Lovely.

The Blue Devils offense loses its top hitter, but returns eight players that started 37 or more games last year. SO SS Ethan Murray (.305/.391/.445, 9 2B, 5 HR), SR OF Chase Cheek (.293/.380/.403, 11 2B, 1 HR, 20-23 SB), SR 1B/DH Matt Mervis (.274/.357/.421, 8 2B, 6 HR), JR C Michael Rothenberg (.269/.390/.481, 10 2B, 11 HR), JR DH/1B Chris Crabtree (.263/.356/.394, 15 2B, 3 HR), JR 2B Joey Loperfido (.261/.361/.389, 6 2B, 4 HR, 8-10 SB), SO C/OF/DH Rudy Maxwell (.257/.353/.439, 9 2B, 4 HR), and SR 3B Erikson Nichols (.255/.325/.318, 9 2B, 2 HR) are all back. There’s a logjam of catchers and first basemen, so Pollard will have to get creative with how to get them all in the lineup at the same time, and that’s before accounting for SR C Chris Dutra, who missed essentially all of 2019 due to injury, and freshmen C Chad Knight and 1B Britt Fuller. Other freshmen to keep an eye on are INFs Grant Norris, Graham Pauley, and Thomas Keehn. Duke also brought in Bucknell grad transfer OF Luke Hartman (.253/.414/.311 career hitter as a two-year starter).

On the mound, Duke returns three of the four players to make double-digit starts last year. JR RHP Bryce Jarvis (5-2, 1 SV, 3.81/1.41/.239, 75.2 IP, 94) and SO RHP Cooper Stinson (1-4, 1 SV, 5.47/1.86/.275, 54.1 IP, 78 K) are big armed pro prospects who have pretty firm grasps on starting spots, while SR LHP Bill Chillari (2-4, 5.35/1.56/.282, 67.1 IP, 48 K) is more likely to move to the bullpen. In the bullpen, the Blue Devils return closer JR RHP Thomas Girard (1-5, 9 SV, 2.33/0.99/.176, 46.1 IP, 61 K), as well as JR LHP Matt Dockman (6-1, 2 SV, 3.80/1.24/.268, 42.2 IP, 39 K) and SR RHP Eli Herrick (2-2, 1 SV, 4.50/1.39/.252, 38.0 IP, 49 K). Among the freshman arms, RHPs Henry Williams and Billy Seidl and LHP Clark Klitenic are names to watch for early contributions this year, maybe even in a starting role in the case of Williams. SO SS Ethan Murray could also see some innings in relief.

2020 Projected Record: 36-20 (15-15)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes


Georgia Tech

Location: Away

Game Dates: April 10, 11, 12

2019 Record: 43-19 (19-11) | 2019 RPI: 12

Brief Outlook:

Georgia Tech had a sensational year in 2019, breaking the 40-win plateau for the first time in eight years and finishing 8th in the RPI. 2020 might be a comparatively rough year, though, unless they can get some key contributions from freshmen. The RPI will get this team in as a 3-seed in a regional, paving the way to what could be a a big 2021.

The offense does return six starters from a year ago, but they lose their two best bats. Those returning players are JR DH/INF Michael Guldberg (.355/.441/.418, 7 2B, 1 HR, 31:32 BB:K), JR SS Luke Waddell (.322/.436/.416, 12 2B, 2 HR, 45:22 BB:K), rSR 3B Jackson Webb (.312/.437/.408, 5 2B, 1 HR, 28:28 BB:K, 13-15 SB), JR OF Colin Hall (.307/.363/.432, 18 2B, 4 HR), SR 2B Austin Wilhite (.266/.369/.349, 11 2B, 1 HR, 12-13 SB), and JR OF Baron Radcliff (.257/.403/.503, 9 2B, 12 HR, 46 BB). GT brought in a heck of a freshman recruiting class of position players, led by C Jake Holland, 3B Andrew Jenkins, and INF Drew Compton.

The pitching staff is under a complete overhaul, losing the entire weekend rotation and their closer. JR LHP Brant Hurter (2-2, 2.42/1.06/.199, 48.1 IP, 58 K) and SO RHP Cort Roedig (2-2, 4.88/1.25/.202, 48.0 IP, 47 K), however, do return a combined 19 starts from a year ago, both flashing big potential at times. Redshirt-senior RHP Jonathan Hughes (9-2, 5.09/1.58/.292, 53.0 IP, 48 K), JR RHP Hugh Chapman (2-0, 4.15/1.08/.235, 13.0 IP, 10 K), and SO LHP Luke Bartnicki (2-2, 1 SV, 6.40/2.07/.338, 32.1 IP, 32 K) are the only other pitchers back in 2020 who logged 10.0 or more innings in 2019. The team will get rJR RHP Andy Archer back after he missed all last year with Tommy John Surgery. The Yellow Jackets have brought in eight freshman pitchers to help fill the innings gap. Among those expected to contribute immediately are RHPs Jackson Arnold, Zach Maxwell, and Jackson Finley.

2020 Projected Record: 33-22 (14-16)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes


North Carolina - Chapel Hill

Location: Home

Game Dates: April 17, 18, 19

2019 Record: 46-19 (17-13) | 2019 RPI: 14

Brief Outlook:

I hate ‘em. You hate ‘em. Their moms probably hate ‘em. Fine, let’s talk about ‘em.

North Carolina loses four of its top six hitters from a year ago, but unfortunately returns the best one of those in SO 1B/DH Aaron Sabato (.343/.453/.696, 25 2B, 18 HR). Also returning are SO SS Danny Serretti (.299/.373/.424, 18 2B, 3 HR) and SR CF Dylan Harris (.268/.397/.423, 15 2B, 7 HR). Those are three really good players to build a lineup around, but having to replace so many productive starters is bound to be rough... you just hate it for them, really. JUCO transfer INF Mikey Madej is likely step in as the starting 2B, or possibly at 3B, a position he played as a freshman at Purdue before going the JUCO route for a year. Among the freshmen, C Kyle Smith is expected to be the starting backstop while 1B/3B Tyler Causey may grab the starting gig at the hot corner.

The Tar Heels have to replace two starting pitchers and have already announced that JR RHP Joe Lancellotti (6-4, 3 SV, 3.12/1.46/.240, 52.0 IP, 56 K) will be making the move from the bullpen into the Friday night starter role. SO LHP Will Sandy (2-2, 5.37/1.60/.276, 58.2 IP, 41 K) is likely to man one of the other two weekend spots, while the third is up in the air. SR RHP Gianluca Dalatri (1-1, 2.25/1.16/.234, 32.0 IP, 35 K) was likely to be a weekend starter until he had surgery this month and is out for an unknown period of time. Dalatri is an incredibly talented player who was a Freshman All-American but will now have had each of his last three seasons shortened significantly due to injuries. SO RHP Connor Ollio (3-1, 4.58/1.45/.255, 37.1 IP, 44 K) made five starts last year and could slide into the Sunday starter role, as could JUCO transfer RHP Michael Oh. The bullpen will again be led by rSO RHP Ausin Love (8-4, 5 SV, 3.09/1.31/.216, 67.0 IP, 67 K) with JR LHP Caden O’Brien (1-1, 2 SV, 5.13/1.47/.220, 33.1 IP, 29 K) being the only other returning pitcher to have logged double-digit innings a year ago. JUCO RHP Gage Gillian figures to play a prominent role in the bullpen, as does rJR LHP Chris Joyner, a transfer from UNCW. True freshmen RHP Joe Charles and LHP Nick James and rFR RHP Austin Elliott are going to command innings. Redshirt-freshman RHP Max Alba will make his collegiate debut this year after missing almost two years due to Tommy John Surgery. He’s legit and likely ends up in the weekend rotation before the end of the year if all goes to plan.

UNC gets the benefit of playing Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, and Pittsburgh - three of the four worst teams in the ACC - all in Chapel Hill. Seven of their ten ACC series are played at home or within 30 minutes of their home stadium.

2020 Projected Record: 37-19 (18-12)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes


Clemson

Location: Away

Game Dates: April 24, 25, 26

2019 Record: 35-26 (15-15) | 2019 RPI: 41

Brief Outlook:

Clemson’s got a bit of a rebuild to take on after losing their top four hitters from a lineup that lacked depth in 2019. JR INF/OF Sam Hall (.257/.365/.390, 12 2B, 7 HR, 30-37 SB) and SO 1B/DH Bryar Hawkins (.287/.365/.452, 8 2B, 7 HR) are the leading returners in the lineup, while JR OF Bryce Teodosio (.215/.295/.403, 8 2B, 9 HR, 8-12 SB), SO DH/1B Davis Sharpe (.264/.377/.364, 4 2B, 3 HR), and JR OF Bo Majkowski (.248/.399/.339, 8 2B, 8-9 SB) are also back. Redshirt-sophomore OF Kier Meredith (.318/.483/.409, 2 2B, 5:5 BB:K in 29 PA, 2-3 SB) is also back after two injury-shortened campaigns to start his career. If he can stay healthy, he’s a difference maker. FR C Jonathan French was set to be the starting catcher, but he injured his leg and is now out for the forseeable future. FR 1B/OF Dylan Brewer is a legit stud, and FR OF J.D. Brock and FR INF Pierce Gallo could also push for PAs this year.

A rebuild would be the worst description of the Clemson pitching staff in 2020. JR LHP Sam Weatherly (2-0, 3.38/1.60/.175, 29.1 IP, 46 K) will move from the bullpen into the Friday night starter role after not starting a single game last year. SO RHP Davis Sharpe (7-4, 3.20/1.11/.205, 84.1 IP, 84 K) was a Freshman All-American last year and will be the Saturday starter. The Sunday spot will be split between rSO RHP Spencer Strider, who missed all of last year with Tommy John Surgery but was a Freshman All-American in 2018, and rJR LHP Mat Clark (9-3, 3.21/1.04/.202, 73.0 IP, 60 K). SR RHP Carson Spiers (2-5, 11 SV, 3.59/1.15/.220, 47.2 IP, 44 K) returns to his role as the closer. JR RHP Holt Jones (2-1, 3 SV, 3.93/1.28/.183, 36.2 IP, 43 K), SO LHP Keyshawn Askew (2-1, 4.40/1.36/.275, 45.0 IP, 36 K), and SO RHP Jackson Lindley (2-0, 3.68/1.30/.257, 29.1 IP, 16 K) are also back to bolster the bullpen. Among freshman arms, keep an eye on RHPs Mack Anglin and Nick Clayton and LHPs J.D. Brock and Geoffrey Gilbert.

2020 Projected Record: 35-21 (16-14)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes


Louisville

Location: Away

Game Dates: May 8, 9, 10

2019 Record: 51-18 (21-9) | 2019 RPI: 5

Brief Outlook:

In last year’s preseason ACC preview, I said:

This Louisville team will be the class of the ACC

The same is true in 2020. It’s hard to see a scenario where this team isn’t heading back to Omaha.

SO 3B Alex Binelas (.291/.383/.612, 14 2B, 14 HR), SR OF Danny Oriente (.332/.404/.435, 17 2B, 1 HR), JR 2B Lucas Dunn (.309/.399/.398, 10 2B, 1 HR, 29:34 BB:K, 15-17 SB), JR OF Zach Britton (.288/.368/.470, 7 2B, 5 HR), SR SS Justin Lavey (.286/.361/.366, 9 2B, 3 HR, 20-23 SB), and SO C Henry Davis (.280/.345/.386, 5 2B, 3 HR) are all back... yay. The Cardinals brought in a pair of JUCO transfer OFs to immediately insert into the lineup in SO Levi Usher and JR Luke Brown. Both are going to be terrors on the basepaths. A trio of redshirts could contribute this year, as well: rSO C/1B/DH Ben Bianco, rFR INF Tim Borden II, and rFR INF Andrew Benefield. Louisville brought in a small freshman class of fielders, but watch out for power-hitting C/1B Dalton Rushing.

Future 2020 MLB Draft 1st Round pick JR LHP Reid Detmers (13-4, 2.78/0.92/.177, 113.1 IP, 167 K) is back to anchor the pitching staff as the ace and Friday night guy. JR RHP Bobby Miller (7-1, 2 SV, 3.83/1.21/.204, 80.0 IP, 86 K) will be the Saturday guy, while rec spec’d trash-talker SR RHP Luke Smith (6-1, 4.24/1.18/.228, 68.0 IP, 53 K) will be the Sunday starter. JR LHP Michael Kirian (3-1, 5 SV, 1.69/1.09/.218, 32.0 IP, 42 K), SR LHP Adam Elliott (3-2, 2.48/1.34/.217, 32.2 IP, 33 K), and SO RHP Jared Poland (2-1, 4.12/1.25/.194, 19.2 IP, 25 K) will be the backbone of another strong bullpen. SO RHP Jack Perkins (3-0, 1 SV, 4.18/1.31/.203, 32.1 IP, 37 K) was set to be a key figure in the ‘pen, but he’ll miss the season with Tommy John Surgery. Louisville is always bringing in talented arms, but watch out especially for FR LHPs Michael Prosecky and Kellan Tulio and FR RHP Ryan Hawks.

2020 Projected Record: 45-11 (22-8)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: Yes


Notre Dame

Location: Home

Game Dates: May 14, 15, 16

2019 Record: 24-30 (13-17) | 2019 RPI: 101

Brief Outlook:

J.T. Jarrett’s dad will be bringing his new squad into Raleigh for the final series of the regular season after having spent the last seven seasons as the head coach at UNC-Greensboro. As good of a coach as he is, it might be a rough season for Link. The Irish face six ACC foes ranked in preseason Top 25 polls.

The Fighting Irish return all 11 hitters who had over 50 ABs last year, so there’s a lot of experience to work with for Jarrett - and given his reputation and track record, you can expect these guys to all improve on their numbers from last year: JR INF Spencer Myers (.294/.383/.332, 5 2B, 1 HR, 30:36 BB:K, 22-25 SB), JR INF Niko Kavadas (.274/.390/.517, 13 2B, 12 HR), JR C David LaManna (.272/.387/.325, 6 2B, 20:21 BB:K), SR OF/1B Daniel Jung (.272/.325/.392, 9 2B, 5 HR), SO INF Carter Putz (.264/.335/.339, 8 2B, 1 HR), SO INF Zack Prajzner (.261/.382/.348, 5 2B, 1 HR), and rSR Eric Gilgenbach (.229/.316/.428, 11 2B, 9 HR). With so much returning, there’s not a lot of room for newcomers, but a couple freshmen to watch are INF Jack Brannigan and OF Jack Donofrio.

Notre Dame also returns two of three pitchers from their weekend rotation: JR LHP Tommy Sheehan (5-6, 4.58/1.33/.271, 92.1 IP, 62 K) and SR LHP Cameron Brown (4-6, 5.65/1.62/.288, 78.0 IP, 89 K). JR LHP Tommy Vail (3-2, 6 SV, 3.27/1.14/.157, 44.0 IP, 61 K) is a candidate to move into the starting rotation to see if his success as a reliever will translate there. The team may also opt to keep him in the bullpen, especially given the loss of Cole Kmet (also a TE on the football team), who opted to enter the NFL Draft and forgo the remainder of his collegiate athletics career. If Vail does move into the rotation, SR RHP Andrew Belcik (2-3, 1 SV, 3.21/1.54/.227, 33.2 IP, 37 K) will be the top arm in the bullpen while JR RHP Joe Boyle (3-3, 2 SV, 5.96/1.60/.157, 25.2 IP, 39 K) and SR RHP Zack Martin (1-2, 7.11/1.66/.267, 25.1 IP, 26 K) will be expected to increase both productivity and usage. Among the freshmen to watch are RHP Dominic Cancellieri, RHP Jack Donofrio, and RHP Jack Brannigan. FR RHP Gerry Peacock is working his way back from missing his senior year of high school with Tommy John Surgery, so it’s unsure what level he’ll contribute this year, but he’ll be a good one long-term for the Irish.

2020 Projected Record: 27-27 (9-21)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: No