Who’s the Pack playing?
Mascot: Bawbcats | School Location: Davidson, NC | Conference: Atlantic 10
2023 Record: 21-13 (7-2, 2nd) | 2023 RPI Rank: 246
2022 Record: 43-13 (20-4, 1st) | 2022 RPI Rank: 71
2021 Record: 24-24 (11-13, 4th South) | 2021 RPI Rank: 170
When? Where? How do I watch?
Location: Truist Field (Charlotte, NC)
Game Time(s): Tues, Apr 18 @ 6:00pm
TV: None :(
Radio: The Varsity Network (Tuesday)
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
Tell me about this team
Davidson is a really good academic institution, if you didn’t know. Surprisingly, though, they don’t have a graduate school. With athletes getting an extra year of eligibility due to the 2020 covid year, that has come back to bite the Wildcats baseball program in the butt.
NC State has obviously benefited greatly with Trevor Candelaria and Parker Nolan making their way to Raleigh as graduate students this year, but RHP Blake Hely (Notre Dame), 3B John Hosmer (Bryant), and RHP Alex Fenton (Georgetown) are key pieces off Davidson’s 2022 A10 Regular Season Champion squad who are playing out their final year of collegiate eligibility elsewhere.
This year’s team could really use those five players as depth has become a major issue. C Michael Carico entered the year as one of the top catchers for the 2023 MLB Draft, a guy who was flying up draft boards, but he hasn’t played since early March. His replacements (Jacob Friend, Anthony Torreso) have done an admirable job, but there’s just no replacing that level of talent.
The offense can still mash and has some seriously dangerous weapons, but that offense with Candelaria, Nolan, and Hosmer inserted into it would be nearly unstoppable in the A10.
The pitching staff has been the problem. It is built around one stud starting pitcher (Will Schomberg, 5-2, 3.80 ERA, 47.1 IP, 7.9 BB%, 25.6 K%) and one really good reliever (Bennett Flynn), but lacks depth. Ryan Feczko was a Freshman All-American last year, but he has struggled mightily this year, although his last two starts have been better. Simply put, with the difficulty of their schedule about to ratchet up, this team just doesn’t appear to have the pitching to take their second straight A10 title.
Who’s on the mound for these guys?
Tuesday: LHP Isaac Fix (SO)
CF Ryan Wilson (JR) - .379/.515/.815, 10.4 BB%, 9.2 K%, 7-9 SB. With Candelaria and Nolan on to NC State, Wilson moved to take over Nolan’s former position. The Durham native earned 2nd Team All-A10 honors last year and is well on his way to 1st Team honors this year. Has been hit by a Jake Armstrong-esque 20 pitches this year. Heck, he’s only struck out 15 times.
2B Jack Cotrone (SO) - .339/.467/.633, 13.9 BB%, 28.5 K%, 0-2 SB. First-year starter is having a breakout year. Strikeouts have been an issue, but he’s a patient hitter who will work counts. Big pop in the bat.
3B Nick Calero (JR) - .328/.460/.461, 19.5 BB%, 22.0 K%, 2-3 SB. JUCO transfer from the College of Central Florida is an on-base machine thanks to a fantastic ability to work walks. He also has strikeout problems, but he’s having a great year.
1B Michael O’Shaughnessy (FR) - .308/.449/.533, 11.8 BB%, 25.0 K%, 0-2 SB. The lefty hitting Mr. O-Shag-Hennessy is well on his way to A10 All-Freshman honors. While not quite to Wilson’s levels of Armstrongness, he has worn 12 pitches this year. For comparison, nobody on NC State has been hit by more than 5 pitches this year.
LHP Isaac Fix (SO) - 2-0, 0 SV, 3.18 ERA, 11.1 IP, 13.2 BB%, 11.3 K%. The slender lefty had a promising freshman campaign a year ago, but hasn’t quite made the leap expected of him. The main issue has been that the control has not improved, and hitters have figured out how to work him for the pitcher they want.
RHP Bennett Flynn (SR) - 3-0, 3 SV, 3.82 ERA, 33.0 IP, 17.2 BB%, 35.1 K%. The senior now has 13 career saves. I expected him to be a mainstay in the rotation this year, but he’s only had a few spot starts here and there. The control issues aren’t what you’d expect based on the BB% listed there. He had one erratic outing back on April 8th where he walked 7 in 2.2 innings; that’s killing his overall numbers. If he doesn’t get drafted after this year or sign a UDFA deal, he’ll have no shortage of transfer options for next year.
Quick! Fun Facts!
NC State will have the only two Davidson graduates in the lineup in this game.
Out of 34 games played this year, the Wildcats have played only 4 games against teams with winning records (Coastal Carolina x3, Duke). They are 0-4 in those games, losing by a combined score of 64-16.
Davidson has been to just one NCAA Tournament in program history. That was in 2017 when they won the Chapel Hill Regional by beating UNC twice. Unfortunately, their season ended in two games in the College Station Super Regional.
State’s bats stay hot.
Outcome: Pack win.