Today, State Baseball starts the postseason journey to finally bring home some hardware. From an abysmal start, to becoming one of the hottest teams in the country, we dove into some numbers that stood out most.
If you asked me a month into the season, “Which is more likely, State has 15 losses on the year or they are ranked #15 in the nation?” I would have laughed, caught me breath, and then laughed even harder. There was no way that a team that starts 4-9, then just goes 24-6 the rest of the way? Yet, somehow Avent got the boys going and it’s been just a remarkable ride these last two months.
It’s no secret, State needs their starting pitching to carry this team. In their last ten losses, State starters averaged under 5 innings of work. In that same span, wins meant the starters were pushing 7 innings. The bullpen just isn’t built for a deep run. The one saving grace might be, that with the ACCT only being a possible three game run, Avent can setup his squad like it’s a normal three-game series. But for the NCAAT, hold on to your a*s.
Can’t emphasize how impressive Jonny Butler has been at the plate this year. The .406 batting average is the best a State player has done in the last 15 years. The next best in that span? 2007’s Dallas Poulk going for .394 on the year. Furthermore, only five times since 2007 has the leading BA been over .350. The top of the order is SO good, State might have the best top-4 in the Nation, lead by Jonny himself.
Leading the Conference this year for All-ACC nominations, was the Wolfpack. An incredible seven players chosen. Not here to say who was disrespected with what team they were on, but it’s crazy to think that State got seven without Tresh or another starting pitcher/reliever beyond Johnston and Justice (both got third-team, which goes back to the hold on when the bullpen gets involved).
Chicks dig the long ball. State ranks #14 nationally in home runs, but they have the least amount of games compared to everyone in the top-50. Ten teams ahead of them have at least 9 more games than State. In short, the power hitting needs to continue.
-Starting pitching needs to get to 7 innings
-This team has a deep lineup, that likes to go deep
-Playing with house money after such a horrible start, so let’s have some fun.