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Former Wolfpacker Andrew Knizner making case for call-up by Cardinals

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Andrew Knizner was a consistent producer at NC State. For his career, he hit over .300 and showed a patient approach at the plate. Couple that with the fact that he was versatile in the field and you can see why the St. Louis Cardinals selected him in the 2016 MLB draft.

Fast forward a few couple years and not much has changed for Knizner. He’s still hitting over .300, his approach is still solid and he’s showing he can play multiple positions in the field. The only difference is that he’s now doing that in the high level of the Cardinal farm system.

As you recall, Knizner was promoted to AAA in late May. He then followed with an invitation to the MLB Futures Game during All-Star weekend. Now, the question is, when will he get the call to the big show?

A target date to watch for is September 1st. This is when MLB rosters will expand from the normal 25-man roster to the full 40-man roster.

Now usually, if a guy is not on the 40-man roster, then it’s unlikely you’d see him get the call in September (and Knizner is not on the Cardinal’s 40-man.) However, the Cardinals are only 6.5 games out of first place in their division and just 4 games out of the Wild Card. This means they will likely be in the middle of a playoff push in September. That also means that they’ll need to make sure they have enough depth for that run.

Most teams carry at least 3 catchers when rosters expand, but looking at St. Louis’ 40-man, they would only be carrying their starter Yadier Molina, and backup Francisco Pena.

What we’re getting at is that if the Cardinals can keep pace in their playoff race, then when rosters expand, there is an increasingly good chance that they designate someone for assignment and add Andrew Knizner to the roster, both because his numbers dictate it and because they need an emergency backstop.

The kid has hit over .300 in AA and now after a few weeks in AAA, he’s hitting .314. He’s also being touted as a quality defensive catcher and is even starting to show a little more pop. The Cardinals are looking for a protege to bring up while their future Hall of Fame catcher, Yadier Molina is still around to tutor him. All of this may go into motion a lot sooner than thought, but it’s deserved and very much earned by the former Wolfpacker.

NC State Baseball

NC State SS Will Wilson is the #28 2019 MLB Draft Prospect

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NC State Junior Shortstop Will Wilson is currently the #28 2019 Major League Baseball Draft prospect.

“For the second time in five years, North Carolina State could have a shortstop selected in the first round. Wilson isn’t as tooled up as Trea Turner or the other top shortstops in a deep college crop, but he has a high floor as a steady up-the-middle defender with surprising power. He was one of four players to hit 10 or more homers in Atlantic Coast Conference games in 2018, joining Giants No. 2 overall pick Joey Bart, Astros first-rounder Seth Beer and Blue Jays second-rounder Griffin Conine.

Though he’s not physically imposing, Wilson has quick hands and deceptive strength that give him at least above-average raw power. A right-handed hitter, he has a knack for putting the barrel on the ball. He shows the ability to hit for average and power, though he could stand to draw a few more walks.

The biggest knock on Wilson is his below-average speed. Most big league shortstops run better than that, though some scouts think he can stay at the position because he has quick actions and hands. Others believe his speed and average arm will land him at second base, where he played as a freshman and still would profile well offensively.” (MLB)

Last year Wilson earned 1st Team All-ACC honors, and was a 2nd Team All-American (Collegiate Baseball).

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VIDEO: Funderburk talks big night, versatility, and running in practice (BULLETED)

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DJ Funderburk scored 20 points in his NC State debut and went 7-7 from the floor (and 5-5 from the line). The 6’9 transfer met with the media after the game to discuss. Above is the full video and below are the bulleted highlights.

  • Loves the system. Loves the coaching staff. They make the team comfortable and it helps the team play better.
  • Running a lot in practice, but it’s paying off. Don’t get tired in the game. Need to keep striving, but going to keep running.
  • At halftime, coach told us it was 0-0 and told us that if they got 70 points we were going to have to run. That was an extra incentive. Kept grinding all game.
  • Really there isn’t position names or titles. Everyone is versatile. Can switch 1 through 5 all game.
  • Need to keep improving. Have to work on shot, handle, conditioning. Teammates helped get me the ball in the right spots.
  • Patterns his mentally after Kevin Garnett. Patterns his game after Lamar Odom, Kevin Durant and Magic Johnson, because of their versatility.

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NC State Releases 2019 Baseball Schedule

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RALEIGH, N.C. – After guiding NC State baseball to a 40-win season and top-25 finish in the rankings last year, Wolfpack head coach Elliott Avent announced the program’s 2019 schedule Thursday afternoon.

The Wolfpack’s slate is highlighted by 31 home games at Doak Field at Dail Park and 25 games against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season.

Additionally, NC State will play 32 games versus teams that finished 2018 ranked among the top 100 of the NCAA RPI.

With last season’s top-25 finish, NC State has either finished or began the year among the top 25 of a major poll in each of the past 16 seasons under Avent’s leadership.

The Wolfpack will open the season with a home series against Bucknell (Feb. 15-17) before a midweek matchup at Elon. NC State will travel to Conway, S.C., on the second weekend of the year to battle Michigan State, Kent State and the host Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.

Following a midweek game at Campbell, the Pack welcomes nationally-ranked Minnesota, the Big Ten Champions that advanced to NCAA Super Regionals, to Doak Field for a three-game series from March 1-3.

NC State opens ACC play at home against Pittsburgh (March 8-10) and hosts Florida State in its second weekend of conference play from March 15-17. The Wolfpack will also welcome Virginia, Louisville and Clemson to Doak Field for home ACC series this season.

The Pack will begin its conference road slate at Miami (March 22-24). NCSU also makes road trips to Boston College, Wake Forest, Notre Dame and UNC-Chapel Hill.

NC State will play four games at current Minor League Baseball ballparks, including two at BB&T Ballpark (Home of the Charlotte Knights) and one each at TicketReturn.com Field (Home of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans) and First National Bank Field (Home of the Greensboro Grasshoppers).

Additionally, the schedule features a matchup with North Carolina Central at the historic Durham Athletic Park.

The 2019 ACC Championship will be held at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park for the second consecutive season from May 21-26. NCAA Regionals begin May 31 and the College World Series (CWS) convenes at Omaha’s TD Ameritrade Park from June 15-26.

NC State returns a strong core of players to the 2019 squad after making its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament in 2018 and 16th in the last 21 seasons.

2019 NC State baseball season tickets are now on sale and can be found on GoPack.com/Pack9Tickets.

2018 NCAA Tournament Teams on NC State’s Schedule
Kent State
Coastal Carolina
Campbell
Minnesota (Advanced to Super Regional)
Florida State
N.C. A&T
South Carolina (Advanced to Super Regional)
Louisville
UNCW
Tennessee Tech (Advanced to Super Regional)
Clemson
UNC-Chapel Hill (Advanced to College World Series)

25 games

2018 NCAA Top 100 Final RPI Teams on NC State’s Schedule
UNC-Chapel Hill (3)
Florida State (3)
Minnesota (3)
Clemson (3)
Tennessee Tech (1)
Louisville (3)
Coastal Carolina (2)
South Carolina (1)
Kent State (1)
UNCW (2)
Miami (3)
Wake Forest (3)
Charlotte (1)
Virginia (3)

32 games

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Details emerging on Elliot Avent’s new contract

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As we reported yesterday, The NC State Board of Trustees approved a new contract for head baseball coach Elliot Avent.

What was not reported was the amount he’ll be getting after 42-18 season and 2nd place ACC finish. WRAL’s Jeff Gravely chimed in with this last night…

$500,000 for a base salary is very good in the world of ACC college baseball. If you want to compare, we can look at Clemson’s Monta Lee, who led the Tigers to a 47-16 season and a 1st place ACC finish.

Lee will be paid $460,000 this year and next year, $480,000 in 2020-2021 and $500,000 in 2021-2022 and 2022-2023.

So Lee wins the ACC, but still won’t be making that ‘Elliot Avent money’ until 2021.

Meanwhile, Avent is really starting to build something special at NC State.

The Pack finished the year ranked No. 22 in the D1 Baseball Poll, which marks the 16th consecutive season that the Wolfpack has either started or finished the year ranked among the top 25 of a major poll. The Pack also made history with four players selected in the top-10 rounds of the 2018 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft.

In 2013, he led the Wolfpack to the College World Series (CWS) and has taken NC State to the NCAA Tournament in 17 of his 22 seasons at the helm, including 14 of the last 16 seasons.

Avent is the winningest head coach in program history and is just one of 17 active NCAA Division I baseball head coaches with 1,000 or more career wins. The 2019 season will be his 23rd leading the Wolfpack. (NC State Release)

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