Who’s the Pack playing?
Opponent: The Citadel
Mascot: Biiiig Stretch Enthusiasts | School Location: Chuck Town, SC | Conference: SoCon
2023 Record: 19-19 (4-8, T-7th) | 2023 RPI Rank: 213
2022 Record: 26-31 (5-16, 8th | 2022 RPI Rank: 229
2021 Record: 12-39 (4-25, 4th Red) | 2021 RPI Rank: 266
When? Where? How do I watch?
Location: Doak Field at Dail Park (Raleigh, NC)
Game Time(s): Fri, Apr 28 @ 6:00pm | Sat, Apr 29 @ 4:00pm | Sun, Apr 30 @ 1:00pm
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Tell me about this team
The struggles of The Citadel baseball program over the last ten years obscure how good the program has actually been throughout its history. Chal Port and Fred Jordan were the only two head coaches of the program from 1965-2017, making 12 NCAA Regional appearances during that time. Most famously, the 1990 team made a run to the College World Series where they eventually got knocked out by LSU, but did manage to beat Cal State Fullerton in an elimination game.
That 1990 team wont the Atlantic Regional (this was back in the days before the modern Super Regional format, when Regionals consisted of six teams with the winner going to the CWS) in Coral Gables, beating NC State, East Carolina, and Miami (twice) along the way. NC State won two games in that Regional (vs Stetson and East Carolina) before getting knocked out by Miami.
Most impressively from that 1990 Bulldogs team is the fact that it produced three Division I head coaches: Mississippi State’s Chris Lemonis, Louisville’s Dan McDonnell, and current The Citadel head man Tony Skole. That’s an absolutely impressive list.
Skole has quite a rebuild ahead of him as the program tailed off towards the end of Fred Jordan’s tenure. This year’s team is probably his best, but far from a SoCon contender. The lineup is experienced, but lacks power bats and doesn’t push it much on the bases. The pitching staff has two solid starters, but one of the expected weekend guys continues to get rocked every time he takes the mound while another is battling some ineffectiveness of late. There just aren’t enough quality arms to fill out the bullpen, and that’s been a problem for them.
Who’s on the mound for these guys?
Friday: RHP Sam Swygert (JR)
Sunday: RHP Cameron Reeves (SR)
C Travis Lott (SR) - .339/.479/.488, 13.7 BB%, 14.9 K%, 2-2 SB. Another three-year starter. Has been plunked by 28 pitches over the last two years, so obviously he’s not afraid to sit in and wear one. Big boy at 6’1, 230 lbs.
1B Noah Mitchell (SR) - .324/.406/.471, 11.3 BB%, 15.1 K%, 3-3 SB. Three-year starter. The power has dropped this year, but his on-base skills are way up thanks to dramatically decreasing his strikeout rate (22.5% in 2022).
3B Thomas Rollauer (SO) - .338/.401/.455, 9.2 BB%, 17.2 K%, 8-11 SB. Atlanta native is a transfer from San Diego where he only got 6 PA in 2022.
SS Sawyer Reeves (rSO) - .326/.399/.447, 10.2 BB%, 10.8 K%, 11-13 SB. Not related to the Bulldogs’ Sunday starting pitcher. Leadoff hitter was a 2022 SoCon All-Freshman Team selection.
RHP Sam Swygert (rSO) - 4-2, 0 SV, 3.33 ERA, 48.2 IP, 7.6 BB%, 22.4 K%. JUCO transfer from the College of Central Florida. Has served as a do-it-all arm, but settling in as the Friday starter and doing an excellent job. In his las outing against ETSU, pitched a complete game while allowing just five baserunners (3 H, 1 BB, 1 HBP).
RHP Cameron Reeves (SR) - 6-3, 2.51 ERA, 57.1 IP, 8.2 BB%, 22.7 K%. Well on his way to an All-SoCon season. Has held opponents to just a .172 batting average, helped greatly by an absurdly low .213 BABIP. Has gone 6.0+ innings in seven of nine starts this year, including five straight. Workhorse arm who produces for the Bulldogs.
RHP Ben Hutchins (JR) - 4-3, 5.05 ERA, 46.1 IP, 8.5 BB%, 18.8 K%. Former two-way player who has moved to a pitcher-only role this year. Has started 10 games this year (and 11 last year) for The Citadel, but three of his last four outings have been rough and so he’s not listed as a starter for this weekend.
LHP Will Holmes (rFR) - 2-1, 1 SV, 3.38 ERA, 29.1 IP, 15.9 BB%, 23.9 K%. The control isn’t quite as bad as it appears on the surface, but when it pops up it pops up bad. When the control is there, he’s very effective.
Quick! Fun Facts!
NC State is 31-11 all-time versus The Citadel, but these two programs have not met since 2008 (a 4-3 Wolfpack win).
The Citadel has zero players from the state of North Carolina.
Two former Bulldogs are playing in the Majors this year: LHP J.P. Sears (Oakland A’s), RHP Mike Clevinger (Chicago White Sox).
NC State has to - not needs to, has to - sweep this series. A loss to a team with an RPI in the 200’s will drop the Wolfpack’s suddenly sinking RPI like a rock. It’s a different type of pressure for the Wolfpack this weekend.
Outcome: Sweep by the Pack