The Wolfpacker

January 2019

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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70 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY MATT CARTER N C State baseball head coach El- liott Avent has been managing the Wolfpack since 1997 and is a fa- miliar face around Raleigh. Thus it's not unusual for someone to stop Avent in a grocery story, for instance, and almost always the question is asked: "Coach, how are we going to be this year?" Avent's standard reply is he'll let them know in March or April. But for the 2019 edition of Pack baseball, fans may have to be more patient. "It may take as long as it has ever taken this year," Avent noted. The coach believes he has a talented ros- ter, but he also misses the leadership from a team that had seven seniors last year, all of whom were significant contributors high- lighted by ACC Pitcher of the Year Brian Brown, and MLB Draft picks and All-ACC outfielders Josh McLain and Brock Death- erage. Junior outfielder Brett Kinneman also turned professional after being drafted. "There were so many leaders on that team that we lost, and then you bring in all of those new guys — freshmen, junior college players — we are going to have to find a way to get all of these guys together so they can figure out how to win and com- pete," Avent noted. "That's going to be our biggest challenge." The strength of the Pack could be its numbers on the pitching staff. Nine that threw at least 10 innings last year are back, with seven of them throwing at least 30 innings on a staff that collectively sported a 3.62 earned run average (ERA) in 2018. Most notably, sophomore Reid Johnston is returning after being tabbed as a Fresh- man All-American by Collegiate Baseball. During his rookie campaign last year, he compiled a 7-1 record and a 3.06 ERA in 64 2 ⁄3 innings over 21 games (10 starts). In addition, Joe Ingle, a transfer from East Carolina where he was a Freshman All-American in 2015, is eligible this FINDING The RighT Mix Elliott Avent Is Blending In A Lot Of New Faces For The Wolfpack Junior shortstop Will Wilson earned first-team ACC and second-team All-America accolades in 2018 after batting .307 with 15 homers and 53 RBI. PHOTO BY LARRY BLANKENSHIP BASEBALL PREVIEW ■ Key Games • Vs. Minnesota, March 1-3: The Gophers won the Big Ten title a year ago and reached the Super Regionals in the NCAA Tournament. • Vs. Florida State, March 13 and 15-16: The defend- ing ACC Tournament champions took two of three from the Pack in Tallahassee, Fla., during a highly competitive series to end the regular season a year ago. • At North Carolina, May 16-18: The last series of the regular season involves the two archrivals.

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