The Wolfpacker

January 2022

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 ■ 31 BY MATT CARTER ou could excuse longtime NC State baseball head coach Elliott Avent if he asked players to wear name tags for the first week or so of fall practices. In his many years as a head coach, dating back to 1989 at New Mexico State before he took over the Wolfpack program in 1997, Avent cannot recall having to field so many newcomers. "This is probably the most roster turnover I've had," he confirmed. "You don't lose the whole team very often, but this is one of those times." During last year's memorable 56-game season that included the program's third-ever trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., Avent had nine regulars start 50 games or more in the lineup. Seven are gone. In addition, he used five pitchers for 59.2 innings or more each — compared to just 17.1 innings for the next most frequently called-upon hurler — and two of those five have left. Yet, Avent left the fall, which ended with NC State crushing Duke 14-5 in an exhibition rematch of last spring's ACC Championship Game, feeling optimistic about his team. "We have a good group of guys," Avent said. "Our job is to get them committed to excellence and committed to doing the things every day in a sport that has so many ups and downs." On The Field One of the hallmarks of Avent's program that is difficult to appreciate unless you are a coach has been a string of strong dugout leaders. "I think the leadership that gets handed down from every year by our players con- tinues to grow and blossom," the veteran coach said. The Wolfpack may only return two regu- lars from the lineup, but senior right fielder Devonte Brown and senior second baseman J.T. Jarrett have provided invaluable leader- ship, Avent noted. Brown missed part of the fall after having hand surgery, but he is a powerful bat return- ing. He hit 13 homers last season, third-most on the team, while being one of just three players to start every game. He also added 11 doubles and finished with an OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of .863. Anything A NEW-LOOK TEAM NC State Baseball Has To Replace A Lot From Last Summer's College World Series Team Y Senior right fielder Devonte Brown is one of only two regular position players returning to the starting lineup from last year, when he was third on the team with 13 home runs and one of just three athletes to start every game. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN

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