As per normal custom, the ACC announced the 2021 All-Conference honors prior to the start of the ACC Baseball Tournament. Seven NC State players earned honors, including three 1st team selections.
- Jonny Butler (1st Team)
- Terrell Tatum (1st Team)
- Jose Torres (1st Team, All-Freshman Team)
- Tyler McDonough (2nd Team)
- Austin Murr (2nd Team)
- Reid Johnston (3rd Team)
- Evan Justice (3rd Team)
Keep in mind that the conference only allots one spot for relief pitchers per team, so Justice’s 3rd team selection is really like a 1st team selection for a starting pitcher.
Among the high-level honors across the conference:
- Player of the Year – Matheu Nelson (rSO), C, Florida State
- Defensive Player of the Year – Sal Frelick (JR), OF, Boston College
- Pitcher of the Year – Parker Messick (rFR), LHP, Florida State
- Freshman of the Year – Parker Messick (rFR), LHP, Florida State
- Coach of the Year – Link Jarrett (JT’s Dad), Notre Dame
I’ll contend that McDonough was snubbed being put on the 2nd Team. I’m going to give you some ACC-specific stats:
- Player A: .355/.438/.536, 12 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 20 R, 20 RBI, 14 BB, 14 K, 11-15 SB.
- Player B: .338/.435/.634, 13 2B, 0 3B, 10 HR, 40 R, 27 RBI, 24 BB, 29 K, 10-14 SB.
- Player C: .321/.409/.571, 9 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 29 R, 19 RBI, 14 BB, 37 K, 4-7 SB.
- Player D: .392/.463/.654, 8 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 36 R, 27 RBI, 14 BB, 27 K, 10-10 SB.
Pick your three 1st Team OFs. I mean, there’s no real wrong option here, but I’m pretty sure everyone is immediately taking B and D and then choosing between A and C for that 3rd spot. Player D is Jonny Butler. Player B is Tyler McDonough. Sal Frelick (BC) is Player A and Player C is Gavin Cross (VT).
Discussion of snubs aside, the fact that NC State players took home as many honors as they did after a 1-8 start to conference play is a phenomenal testament to the turnaround that this team made. If not for the unreal turnaround engineered at Notre Dame this year by Link Jarrett, I’m sure Elliott Avent would have taken home Coach of the Year honors.
- Butler finished the regular season on an 11-game hitting streak, with multiple hits in every single one of those games. He led the ACC in batting average in conference games by a whopping 21 points.
- Tatum turned into an absolute beast in conference play, going from hitting .226 in early April to .326 in late May.
- Torres lived up to the hype, but his bat showed more than enough to shake the “glove-first” designation many had placed on him.
- McDonough is one of the ACC’s best all around players and probably the conference’s most versatile defender. This is his 3rd All-ACC honor (2019, 2nd Team; 2019, All-Freshman).
- Murr has done what most thought impossible: nearly eliminated a drop-off in production at the first base position after taking over from Evan Edwards.
- Johnston forced his way back into the starting rotation, being the workhorse the team needed, and earned his second All-ACC honor (2018, All-Freshman).
- Justice didn’t shine as a starter as many hoped, but he turned into something much more valuable for this team: a shut-down reliever, turning in saves in 7 of 13 appearances from the bullpen, with State winning 12 of the 13 games he appeared in.
The ACC Tournament starts tomorrow, but the Wolfpack won’t get under way until Thursday evening at 7:00pm vs Pittsburgh.