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Opponent Preview: North Carolina A&T

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Meet the Aggies... A team struggling this year, but not without talent

North Carolina A&T v Louisville Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: North Carolina A&T

Mascot: Agriculture Enthusiasts | School Location: Greensboro, NC | Conference: MEAC

2021 Record: 9-23 (4-8, 4th Southern) | 2021 RPI Rank: 258

2020 Record: 7-9 (0-0, T-1st Southern) | 2020 RPI Rank: 255

2019 Record: 29-24 (16-8, 1st Southern) | 2019 RPI Rank: 194


When? Where? How do I watch?

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

Game Time(s): Wed, Apr 14 @ 6:00pm

TV: ACC Network Extra / WatchESPN

Radio: TuneIn App, GoPack

Live Stats: Sidearm Stats


Tell me about this team

This season has not been kind to North Carolina A&T. A combination of under-performance of some upperclassmen, evasive timely hitting, and a lack of dependable bullpen depth has doomed the team to a pretty horrible record.

Still, this season to date shouldn’t diminish the work that Ben Hall has done with the program since taking over in 2015, or what they can do from here to the end of the season. From 2017 to 2019, the Aggies finished between 193 and 210 in the RPI, which is pretty fantastic historically in terms of MEAC schools. Those marks are higher than any MEAC team currently sits in RPI.

This is a team that has a lineup that can hit and some of the better weekend rotation options in their conference. They have thus far split their season series with rival NC Central and were swept by conference leader Florida A&M in the first series with them, losing the four games by a combined 11 runs.

The Aggies have 8 games remaining against FAMU, 8 vs Coppin State, and 4 vs NC Central (plus non-conference games with High Point and UNCG). They’re not likely catch FAMU, but the season should play out more favorably from here on than it has to this point.


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Wednesday: TBD


Key Players:

Offense

DH/OF Cameran Brantley (SO) - .303/.442/.422, 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 23 R, 14 RBI, 26 BB, 29 K, 3-5 SB. Transfer from UNC by way of Florida Southwestern State JUCO. Was a highly decorated high school player out of Ardrey Kell HS. Aside from the high K%, the lefty hitter has been outstanding at the dish.

CF/LF Justin Rodriguez (rJR) - .291/.337/.535, 6 2B, 5 HR, 17 R, 26 RBI, 5 BB, 22 K, 6-7 SB. Former JUCO transfer from Daytona State where he was a productive player. Took a year to adjust to D1 ball, but he’s having a good year. Plate patience is his weakness.

1B Justin Williams (rJR) - .274/.358/.462, 5 2B, 5 HR, 15 R, 20 RBI, 13 BB, 28 K, 2-2 SB. Has discovered a power stroke this year after hitting just 2 HR total from 2018-2020. Has homered in each of the last two games.

RF Camden Williamson (SR) - .288/.362/.442, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 R, 6 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K, 1-2 SB. Short, stocky outfielder who has been hitting well over the last two-plus years. Over the last three games is 5-of-9 with 2 HR, 3 R, and 5 RBI.

3B Trevor Sheehan (FR) - .268/.338/.500, 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 11 R, 14 RBI, 7 BB, 13 K, 1-1 SB. Freshman from Holly Springs was one of the most productive hitters for the Aggies, but hasn’t played since April 1st. Assuming he’s hurt, but getting his bat back into the lineup would be huge for A&T the rest of the way.

Pitching

RHP Evan Gates (SR) - 2-2, 2 SV, 4.03 ERA, 29.0 IP, 24 H, 11 BB, 46 K. Undisputed best pitcher on the staff. Slimmer chance of seeing him in this one since he threw 4.0 innings on Sunday. Should be the next A&T player drafted.

LHP Peyton Winebarger (SO) - 2-1, 4.79 ERA, 20.2 IP, 20 H, 17 BB, 24 K. Stocky lefty is tied for the team lead in appearances. Hasn’t allowed a run over his last 9.0 innings, spanning four games. Control isn’t great, but not as bad as the numbers lead you to believe.

RHP Ian Cawthorne (FR) - 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 6.1 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 6 K. Not sure why this kid isn’t pitching more considering four of his five appearances have come against UNCG, Elon, App State, and Baylor.


Quick! Fun Facts!

NC State has won all 22 meetings between the two schools on the baseball diamond.

DH/OF Cameran Brantley is the cousin of former Clemson DT, current Miami Dolphins DT, and noted opponent derriere aficionado Christian Wilkins.


Prediction

NC State has a clear advantage when at the plate, proving the difference in this one.

Outcome: Wolfpack wins.