State came in the favorite to advance and they took the minimal amount of games to do it. Even though State was the #2 seed in the Ruston Region (host Louisiana Tech), the Wolfpack left no doubt who the best team was.
State started with an 8-1 win over Alabama, before beating LA Tech twice in a row 8-3 and 14-7. With the two true road games, State is now an astounding 17-3 on the road. It would have seemed they would be playing Arkansas next, who is the #1 ranked team in the country, but a slight delay due to an upset win by Nebraska, means State will have to wait until Monday night to determine their next opponent. Regardless, the Super Regional will be in Fayetteville.
Just going to say it right away to be done with it…wish these bats showed up against the Dookies…moving on. To put up 30 runs in three games is amazing. To do it in the Regionals, with 22 of those coming against the top seed and home team is even more incredible. We thought that dingers could be the key, and boy were they ever with seven homers over the extended weekend.
Pre-season we marked Devonte Brown as the player with the biggest “Breakout Potential”. Just realizing now that we forgot to add “Postseason” to that line, so we 10000% just NAILED that prediction. In the three game sweep, Brown went 6-11 with 3 HRs, 1 3B and 7 RBIs. The breakout performance now gives the Pack, five players in double-digit dingers.
But truly, the top of the lineup was the difference maker. Just look at the production from the top four spots (also Brown was batting 7th and Tresh 6th, so teams are just pooping their pants at this point):
Murr: 8-15 (.533) 2 RBIs
McDonough: 6-15 (.400), 4 RBIs
Butler: 4-10 (.400), 5 RBIs
Tatum 6-11 (.545), 2 RBIs
Good Lord what a turnaround. In my wildest dreams I’d never imagine the confidence that this staff has at this point in the season. Reid Johnston wins yet again (now 8-2 on the season) with an eight inning, seven strikeout, 1 run game. Furthermore, he was about at a nine pitch per inning pace for the first four innings. Unreal stuff. Then the freshmen took over.
While I had Johnston as my team MVP for the year, I enjoy watching Highfill the most. Aggressive but calm and just getting loads of experience for his future State career. While he had to pitch out of some jams, he still was able to muster a 5.1 inning, no run win. Evan Justice, gave up two dingers, but otherwise had EIGHT STRIKEOUTS in his near four innings of work.
In the final game, Willadsen was solid. In fact if you take away LA Tech’s Bates, Willadsen threw a six inning, no run win. Unfortunately, things don’t work that way and he was on the hook for five.
Overall, you have to feel as though with some combination of Johnston, Highfill, Willadsen, Villaman and Justice, that this team can steal some games against anyone moving forward.
Simply put, love what Avent is doing and deserves all the credit in the world for turning this around. If they would have won the ACC, I think you could consider this season a massive success already. Awkwardly enough, feel like a trip to Omaha is the line in the sand, as it stands. Regardless, the man is shaping this team to be winners and putting the school in a good place moving forward.
This team is so SPECIAL. pic.twitter.com/MggirO3VeF
— #Pack9 ⚾️ (@NCStateBaseball) June 7, 2021