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Opponent Preview: Longwood

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Meet the Lancers... A team desperate for some pitching

Jerome Kersey Classic
Look at this friggin thing...
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: Longwood

Mascot: Shannon Sharpe | School Location: Farmville, VA | Conference: Big South

2022 Record: 3-1 (0-0, T-1st) | 2022 RPI Rank: 167

2021 Record: 17-32 (10-25, 10th) | 2021 RPI Rank: 277

2020 Record: 4-13 (0-0, T-1st) | 2019 RPI Rank: 294


When? Where? How do I watch?

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

Game Time(s): Wed, Feb 23 @ 3:00pm

TV: ACCNX (Wednesday)

Radio: GoPack.com (Wednesday)

Live Stats: Sidearm Sports


Tell me about this team

Here’s what we wrote in Part IV of our season preview series:

Quite simply, Longwood has just not been a good baseball program since jumping to D1 in the early 2000’s. During their 17 seasons at this level, they’ve only cracked the Top 175 in RPI on just three occasions, with the highwater mark being a 144th ranking in 2013. The program is under new leadership in 2022 with first-time head coach Chad Oxendine coming over after a four-year run as an assistant coach with Coastal Carolina. At the plate, the Lancers return their top four hitters, as well as a few other experienced bats. There’s not much pop in the lineup, but Eliot Dix (2021 2nd Team All-Big South), Hayden Harris, and Jack Schnell all have solid on-base skills. Rowan College transfer Jim White should be an instant impact player for Longwood, while UMBC transfer Dylan Wilkinson has some nice skills and should factor into playing time. Greg Ryan is another name to watch; he’s in his third stop not (Pittsburgh, VCU), but hasn’t really had much run at either previous stop. On the bump, Longwood returns 41 of 49 starts from last year, but barring improvement and/or significant pitching staff additions, that’s not necessarily a good thing. The pitching staff as a whole produced a 6.16 ERA while allowing opponents to slash .285/.411/.387 last year, allowing 471 hits and 301 walks over 418.0 innings with 379 strikeouts. The one thing the staff did well - and something they’ll need to do well again - is limiting home runs. The weekend rotation (Andrew Melnyk, Andrew Potojecki, Dylan Saale) should be fine, but will need to go deeper in games to limit the exposure of an erratic bullpen. Coastal Carolina transfer Noah Eaker should play a prominent role in the bullpen immediately.

Longwood opened up the 2022 season with a three-game sweep at home over MEAC member Maryland - Eastern Shore. Their wins came in varied fashion: scoring ten runs between the 4th and 7th innings of the opener, jumping out to a big lead early in the second game, and coming from behind for the victory in the series finale.

Like NC State, the Lancers had a game yesterday afternoon, although unlike NC State, they dropped theirs. VCU put up a four-run first inning on Longwood en route to an 8-3 victory. Wild pitches and errors really hurt the Lancers in that one. Longwood hitters did pound out ten hits in that one, although they didn’t register a single walk.


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Tuesday: RHP Jack Lamb (rSO)


Key Players:

Offense

INF/DH Eliot Dix (rSO) - .438/.438/.563, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 5 R, 5 RBI, 0 BB, 3 K, 0 HBP, 0-0 SB. 2nd Team All-Big South in 2022. Lefty hitter bats lower in the order (6th), for some reason.

LF Mike Peterson (rJR) - .539/.600/.846, 1 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 HBP, 1-1 SB. The Lancers’ 9-hole hitter is off to a hot start. Was off to a great start in his first season as a regular in 2020 (.368/.478/.526), but struggled in 2021 (.213/.422/.307), although that OBP will play anywhere.

RF Jack Schnell (SR) - .546/.643/.818, 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 0 K, 0 HBP, 0-0 SB. Lefty clean-up hitter and, as you’d expect from that batting slot, one of the team’s best hitters. Not a lot of pop or speed from the stocky guy, but solid on-base skills.

2B Hayden Harris (SR) - .333/.350/.611, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 3 R, 8 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 0 HBP, 0-0 SB. Leadoff hitter who might actually be smaller than J.T. Jarrett. Not a burner despite batting at the top of the order. Three multi-hit games to start the year.

1B Hunter Gilliam (SR) - .357/.375/.643, 1 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 5 R, 6 RBI, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP, 0-0 SB. Longwood’s 3-hole hitter. Big kid, although not a lot of displayed power for the size. Strikes out a bit much.

Pitching

RHP Jack Lamb (rSO) - [no stats in 2022]. JUCO transfer from Bryant & Stratton College (it was really hard not to write “Briggs & Stratton” there). Pitched 20.1 innings with a 3.54 ERA there last year, allowing 17 H, 15 BB, and recording 25 K.

RHP Logan Berrier (rSO) - 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 4 K. The Big South Relief Pitcher of the Week in the opening week of the season. Led the team in saves last year with 3. Control can be a major issue (35 BB and 10 HBP in 45.0 IP coming into 2022). The kid is from Las Vegas, so talk about culture shock going to school in Farmville, VA.

RHP Trey Tiffany (rJR) - 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 3 K. Pitched two innings yesterday, so unlikely we see him today, but as one of only three pitches yet to give up a run, he deserves a mention here. Also he’s from Washington state. Long way from home, man.

LHP J.R. Parrish (rJR) - 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.2 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 K. Local kid from the Raleigh area who found his way to Longwood after a stop at Brunswick CC. Control is a major issue for him (16 BB in 18.2 IP in his Longwood career and 14 BB over 16.0 IP in JUCO ball).


Quick! Fun Facts!

Longwood has four players from North Carolina, including two from the triangle in RHP Dominick D’Ercole (Middle Creek HS) and LHP J.R. Parrish (Clayton HS).

Since moving up to D1 in 2003, Longwood has yet to make an NCAA Regional.

Former MLB outfielder Michael Tucker, who played in the bigs from 1995-2006, is a Longwood alum. He was the 10th overall pick out of the school in 1992.


Prediction

It’ll be interesting to see who NC State throws out on the mound today. Chris Villaman still hasn’t pitched, so maybe he gets the start today? The Lancers have some hitters who can put the ball in play, so this one should be more competitive than the game we saw Tuesday.

Outcome: A Wolfpack win