There were moments on Saturday, that it looked like the Wolfpack were going to sweep ANOTHER ranked ACC team. Although they didn’t quite pull it off, winning two of three guaranteed State a #3 seed heading into the ACC Tournament. A pair of dramatic 6-4 wins officially completed the comeback of the year, from last place in all of the ACC, to top seed in Pool C.
UNC: When it comes to baseball and postseason play, I don’t want to f*ck with a rival. I don’t remember the last trip to Omaha because I blocked that completely out of memory, but I think UNC was somehow involved? Maybe? Let’s move on… When you look at State’s amazing comeback, the sweep AT UNC (who at that point was ranked #11 in the nation) is easily the trajectory changer. Reid Johnston went the distance in Game 1, then it was the beautiful two inning closer role for Willadsen before he literally came right back to pitch an amazing 7.1 in Game 3.
After that sweep by State, UNC had moments of getting hot, but ultimately just weren’t the same. The key factor, at least for this elite analyst*, is UNC struggles mightily away from Chapel Hill. On the road they are 6-14 overall, 2-7 in their last three road series. Compare that to State’s stellar 15-3 road record, and Charlotte will be a major advantage for the Wolfpack.
*Not an elite analyst.
PITT: The. Panthers. Have. Fallen. Off. The. Face. Of. The. Earth. State fans, let me know if you’ve heard a team doing this before. Starts the season hot as heck going 12-5, ranked, looking to make a historic program run, then the wheels fall off. If you answered, “Just about every State season in the last 15 years,” you’re right! Panthers had two series in a row cancelled, before going 2 of 3 against BC, swept by State and then swept by freaking Wake Forest (and the games weren’t even close, 1-6, 5-12, 2-10). This was a team heading into the final weekend, that could have jumped into a top-6 seed and then just pooped the bed.
That said, State can’t be the ones that let them off the mat. Their bats are struggling and the can’t seem to get folks out. Get a win and then put it all out there for the UNC game that follows.
NCAA Tournament Outlook
I know, I know, I know, I know…Vonwolf, why the hell are we jumping ahead. Feel free to skip this section if you like, but here are the brief details. With yet another 2 wins over ranked opponents, State will be at least a high #2 for the NCAAT. They’re now a top-25 RPI team, ranked by Baseball America as #15 and if the committee takes into account recent play (which the absolutely should) State has now gone 19-4 since 4/6 with 9 of those wins against top-16 ranked opponents.
If State would have swept FSU, would have been a really good chance they switch spots with the #9 Seminoles and therefore find themselves teasing the committee for a #1 seed (although they might have had to “host” in Charlotte…but again…and I can’t emphasize this enough…we want dat road life).
Regardless, the team is playing hot and are fired up about postseason play. After the loss in Game 3 to FSU, Avent was adamant that his team was pissed off they could finish out the regular season with a win. Hopefully the Pack has four more wins in them for this week, and another handful for June.