Aaron Schoonmaker

NC State is a baseball school

Posted February 7

— North Carolina State University is a baseball school.

Really, it is. Carlos Rodon, one of the nation’s top pitchers said so, and I will not argue the fact.

“If we don’t get back to Omaha, it’s a disappointment,” Rodon, the 6-foot-3 lefty from Holly Springs, said to follow up his assertion.

Consider the fact that NC State football and basketball have combined for a 17-17 record since the start of the school year. Last year, the Pack-9 only lost a total of 16 games against 50 wins and ventured westward to Omaha where they met their demise against rival North Carolina in the College World Series.

How high exactly are the expectations in Raleigh for 2014? Ask the players:

“We are hungry. We got a bitter taste in our mouth from last year,” said catcher Brett Austin. “Getting to the College World Series was a good accomplishment, but we want to get back and we want to win it.”

“It’s safe to say that if we don’t get back to Omaha, it’s pretty much a failure of a season,” Rodon reiterated.

“Last year we just wanted to make it there, this year we want to win it,” infielder Trea Turner added.

The tone of those statements is far different than football coach Dave Doeren’s “We are building a program” and basketball coach Mark Gottfried’s “We are growing together.” These players are carrying an all-or-nothing attitude.

But let’s slow down a little bit. NC State may be a top 10 team nationally in most preseason polls, but so are a handful of ACC opponents. Six from the ACC, including UNC and league-favorite Virginia can also carry high expectations according to the prognosticators.

What NC State has going for them is a lineup boasting 11 returning lettermen, three top-tier starters and multiple All-Americans. The questions lie with the bullpen and the possibility of starting two true freshmen on the infield.

“Rankings are harder to keep than they are to earn,” said head coach Elliot Avent. “We might have to do things a little differently this year than we did last season.”

Avent added that he may have his best team ever if things all play out and that Rodon, Turner and Austin will all wear the captains' “C” this year “for their leadership.”

State will feature just two seniors in 2014, and the trio of captains – all juniors – will also likely depart after this season.

The Wolfpack will also play one of the most challenging non-conference schedules the school has ever seen with a trip to UC Santa Barbara, a neutral-site game against UCLA and the round-about with the Carolina schools.

“You figure out your team as you go,” Avent said. “It’s going to be a trying schedule. I don’t think we will go undefeated, but I think when we get to the end of the schedule, you will see a team that is ready to go to Omaha. I don’t like to predict things, and this isn’t a prediction, but if we get there, there could be a parade in Raleigh."

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  • BB5 Feb 12, 9:05 p.m.

    When they say they are a baseball school its more along the lines of being the best team out of... View More

    — Posted by JohnnyWalker

    +1

  • JohnnyWalker Feb 10, 11:32 a.m.

    When they say they are a baseball school its more along the lines of being the best team out of football, basketball and baseball at State. Which team has had the most recent success type of thing. I dont think they're saying its a perennial top notch baseball mecca or something.

    Seems like Ram Tuuf gets it. JSharpe does not.

  • HEELSrocknU Feb 9, 9:58 p.m.

    a one year run..and your a baseball school? That's an internal slam on the Football and bball programs. But in all seriousness Moo U is a bass fishing school

  • wlcat609 Feb 9, 9:27 p.m.

    NC State will go as far as this year's bullpen will take them - State lost a lot of talent that did an excellent job in stranding runners on base and not allowing runs. The 2014 bullpen (whomever they are) does not have that much game action experience.....

  • ACC22 Feb 9, 6:34 p.m.

    Forget NTs! Anybody know how many ACC titles (reg season or tourney) State has won since 1980?

    — Posted by BB5

    Can't say for baseball. In football the last title was 1979. In basketball last ACC tournament title 1987. The last regular season title 1989. The last trip to the Elite 8 1986.

  • blpack90 Feb 8, 9:47 p.m.

    I like the boldness of this group. The ACC is loaded and it will be challenge to beat the likes of Clemson, UVa and FSU. These guys know the level of expectations and have embraced it. Let's see how things unfold as the season goes along.

  • scousler Feb 8, 2:11 p.m.

    It is nice to have two good baseball schools within an easy drive. Though I am a UNC alum, I do like to see a baseball or basketball team regardless of their colors. Football is a different story.

    I do hope NCSU will someday get their basketball act together again and field a team like the '74 team - one of my all-time favorites. I don't think their current coach is good enough to do that, but he is an upgrade from the abysmal Lowe.

    I think NCSU does have a rather poor track record in its treatment of coaches, perhaps that's because of too much fan/alumni noise or just plain bad administration.

  • cjw6105 Feb 8, 10:45 a.m.

    State will be a baseball school only as long as Carlos Rodon stays on.

    When he leaves, the Pack will likely return to its mediocre ways on the diamond.

    State's chance to be great ended when school administrators basically ignored their best baseball coach ever, and he went to Columbia.

  • wjuliang Feb 8, 10:23 a.m.

    Need more than 1 good year to be called a whatever school. That said Rodon is a beast. But he can only pitch once or twice a week....

  • tarheelfan41 Feb 8, 10:19 a.m.

    " I don’t like to predict things, and this isn’t a prediction, but if we get there, there could be a parade in Raleigh."

    Is Avent predicting a fourth place finish in the ACC? hahahaha!

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