clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Opponent Preview: Davidson

New, 204 comments

Meet the Wildcats... State’s new opening baseball opponent for the 2021 season

Davidson v Duke Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: Davidson

Mascot: Wildmeowers | School Location: Davidson, NC | Conference: Atlantic 10

2021 Record: 0-0 (0-0, T-1st) | 2020 RPI Rank: n/a

2020 Record: 13-3 (0-0, T-1st) | 2019 RPI Rank: 196

2019 Record: 29-22 (14-6, T-2nd) | 2018 RPI Rank: 146


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: Doak Field at Dail Park (Raleigh, NC)

Game Time(s): Sunday, Feb 21 @ 1:00pm | Sunday, Feb 21 @ 4:45pm

TV: Sunday (Game 1) | Sunday (Game 2)

Radio: TuneIn App, GoPack (Sunday)

Live Stats: Sidearm Stats


Tell me about this team

With the season opening series against VMI being cancelled, NC State is upgrading in opponent quality and will not welcome Davidson to town on Sunday for a double-header. The Wildcats were 13-3 in 2020 when the season was cancelled, and although they were just 1-1 against teams that finished last year with a winning record, that one win came in their season finale over #11 Duke.

Davidson loses their top two hitters from a year ago - as well as four other players who started at least seven games last year - but they do return seven players with starting experience from last year to fill out the lineup. This won’t be a high-scoring team, but they might not have to be because the pitching staff is legit. The team returns their entire starting rotation plus their top five relievers.


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Sunday (Game 1): TBD

Sunday (Game 2): TBD


Key Players:

Offense

DH Ruben Fontes (SR) - .250/.412/.481, 3 2B, 3 HR, 15 R, 10 RBI, 10 BB, 5 HBP, 14 K. Good sized left-handed hitter with big power. Led the A-10 in HR in 2019 with 14. Very nice, smooth swing with not a lot of wasted motion.

3B Alex Fedje-Johnson (rSR) - .298/.492/.319, 1 2B, 10 R, 5 RBI, 12 BB, 6 HBP, 11 K, 3-3 SB. Battled injuries and ineffectiveness throughout his career until finally turning the corner last year. Patient hitter who will work a count.

OF Henry Koehler (FR) - .280/.367/.440, 2 2B, 1 3B, 6 R, 6 RBI, 4 BB, 4 K. Left-handed hitter from Sanderson HS in Raleigh. Took a while to break into the lineup last year, but did pretty good once given his shot, including a 4-for-5 day in his first career start.

CF Parker Nolan (JR) - .222/.296/.492, 1 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 13 R, 14 RBI, 7 BB, 17 K, 2-2 SB. Showed a huge burst of power as a first-time starter last year and led the team in RBI.

OF/INF Ryan Wilson (FR) - I had a freshman projection for VMI, so I’ll do one for Davidson, too. Wilson is a freshman from Jordan HS in Durham who doesn’t have a lot of pop in the bat, but a very advanced approach at the plate.

Pitching

RHP Gabe Levy (JR) - 3-1, 0.91 ERA, 29.2 IP, 19 H, 10 BB, 28 K. The team’s closer as a freshman in 2019 where he registered 11 SV and a 2.57 ERA. Has two very good pitches in a low-90’s fastball and a slider with good movement.

RHP Blake Hely (JR) - 3-0, 1.44 ERA, 25.0 IP, 18 H, 7 BB, 25 K. Another righty with a low-90’s fastball, Hely had the type of sophomore turnaround that pitchers dream of. Went from being a wild, ineffective meat pitcher as a freshman (1-3, 10.59 ERA, 17.0 IP, 32 H, 12 BB, 6 K, 3 WP, 5 HBP) to being an strike-throwing, strikeout machine.

RHP Alex Fenton (JR) - 3-0, 3.51 ERA, 25.2 IP, 19 H, 5 BB, 33 K. Fenton doesn’t quite have the velo of Levy or Hely, but his offspeed stuff might be better. Similar to Hely, he went from a control-issues freshman reliever to a stud starter in just one offseason.

RHP Bennett Flynn (SO) - 0-0, 4 SV, 0.90 ERA, 10.0 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 13 K. An over-the-top righty with a several offerings, took off immediately last year as a freshman. Backed it up with 12 K over 6.2 IP in the Coastal Plain League last summer.

RHP Nolan DeVos (SO) - 1-0, 2 SV, 2.61 ERA, 10.1 IP, 7 H, 6 BB, 10 K. Another reliever who was highly effective in his first taste of college ball a year ago. Athletic kid and an all-around solid pitcher. Relies primarily on his fastball and curve combo, but mixes in a change, too.


Quick! Fun Facts!

NC State is 19-1 all-time versus Davidson.

Three of the last five meetings have been decided by two runs or less.

The two teams played once per year from 2011-2015, but have not met since.


Prediction

Davidson opens their season Saturday night against Morehead State since their season-opening series against Mount St. Mary’s was cancelled due to COVID issues with the Mount St. Mary’s team. It’ll be interesting to see who Davidson throws in that game and who they save for State on Sunday.

Despite the strong pitching staffs from both teams, NC State has a significant advantage in the their hitters. Pitching usually is a bit ahead of hitting in the early going, so I’m expecting a couple of fairly low-scoring affairs.

Outcome: State takes both games.