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Opponent Preview: UNCW (Part Deux)

Meet the Seahawks (again)... A flawed but capable team

NCAA BASEBALL: JUN 01 UNC Wilmington at East Carolina Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: UNC-Wilmington

Mascot: This Guy | School Location: Port City, NC | Conference: CAA

2022 Record: 25-21 (10-8, 4th) | 2022 RPI Rank: 136

2021 Record: 32-22 (13-8, 1st South) | 2021 RPI Rank: 59

2020 Record: 11-5 (0-0, T-1st) | 2020 RPI Rank: 74


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: Brooks Field (Wilmington, NC)

Game Time: Tues, May 10 @ 6:00pm

TV: Flo Baseball (Tuesday)

Radio: The Varsity Network (Tuesday)

Live Stats: Stat Broadcast


Tell me about this team

Here’s the preview from the first time these two teams met back on April 12th in Raleigh.

And here’s the link to how that game ended.

So since then, what have the Seahawks been up to? Well, they immediately followed up their walk-off loss to the Wolfpack by sweeping a three game series against a bad Towson squad. Since then, though... It’s been Ouch Town, population UNCW, bro!

The Seahawks are just 4-8 in their last 12 games and just 2-6 in their last eight games, falling 30 spots in the RPI rankings. They’ve lost midweek games to East Carolina (8-2), Campbell (13-4), and Coastal Carolina (16-1), all teams that rank 62nd or higher in RPI (ECU and Coastal are Top 50 teams). They also dropped two of three to College of Charleston last weekend, a team that’s just run away with the CAA this year (the Cougars are 18-3 in conference play and have already locked up the regular season title).

During the last 12 game span, the pitching has been erratic - weekend starting pitching, good; bullpen, bad - and the offense has been abysmal outside of two big showings. Take out the 11- and 16-run outbursts again Delaware and Elon, respectively, and the Seahawks are averaging just 2.5 runs per game during that stretch.


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Tuesday: TBD


Key Players:

Offense

2B Brooks Baldwin (rJR) - .351/.409/.623, 11 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, 35 R, 31 RBI, 17 BB, 31 K, 0 HBP, 15-17 SB. Still really good and hasn’t tailed off much since last time. I am shocked that he’s only attempted two stolen bases (both successful) in the last 15 games.

SS Taber Mongero (rJR) - .316/.370/.494, 12 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 36 R, 20 RBI, 12 BB, 21 K, 3 HBP, 1-3 SB. Continues to put together an outstanding season. Great contact hitter, he’s only struck out three times in the last 21 games.

1B Ethan Baucom (SR) - .279/.374/.578, 13 2B, 0 3B, 11 HR, 31 R, 37 RBI, 11 BB, 45 K, 14 HBP, 2-3 SB. Grad transfer from UNC-Pembroke where he was a three time D-II All-American while mashing 52 home runs in his career. He’s a 6th-year player after getting a medical redshirt last year (played in just 12 games). Took a while to find his footing, but he’s raised his average by 74 points since the calendar turned to April.

Pitching

RHP Jason Hudak (rJR) - 4-1, 0 SV, 4.10 ERA, 26.1 IP, 26 H, 9 BB, 19 K. About the most consistent reliever the team has had over the last month, outside of a bad outing against Campbell. He’s a contact pitcher, but he’s been effective throughout his UNCW career.

RHP Hunter Hodges (SO) - 1-1, 6 SV, 5.24 ERA, 22.1 IP, 9 H, 28 BB, 40 K. Again, I cannot reiterate enough how much of a hold-your-breath pitcher this guy is. In addition to those walks, he’s also uncorked 16 wild pitches this year. Surprisingly has only hit one batter. Strange.

RHP R.J. Sales (FR) - 5-1, 3.16 ERA, 62.2 IP, 63 H, 25 BB, 52 K. Sales is the team’s Friday starter so he won’t appear in this one, but I just want to take a moment to recognize how great this kid has been this year. There was a lot of hype around Sales coming into the year and he’s delivered big time for this team.


Quick! Fun Facts!

Eh... I hit a lot of these in the first preview, so click on back to there if you need a refresher.

If you’re in Wilmington on the waterfront, I recommend you hit up Anne Bonny’s Bar and Grill. Not only is it a really cool location AND named for a pirate (yo), the food is awesome and the beer selection is solid. The Ship’s Wheel Pretzel will feed a small armada.


Prediction

Even with the bullpen questions for State, UNCW has more of them. In a game that’s shaping up to be a Johnny Wholestaff affair for each side, that tilts the scales in the favor of the Pack.

Outcome: State wins a high-scoring game by two runs.