The Wolfpacker

July 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 115 of 155

individual national and Olympic champions and more, the Wolfpack has produced some all-time greats. N ■ CO-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Add one more name to the list. While his career still has a ways to go, freshman left- hander Carlos Rodon had arguably the great- est single season of any baseball player ever to wear the Wolfpack uniform in 2012, domi- nating the opposition from February to June. The stats back up that assertion, as do the many postseason accolades that have come his way, from All-ACC to All-American to BY BRUCE WINKWORTH C State has had its share of genu- inely special athletes. From bas- ketball's David Thompson to foot- ball's Philip Rivers to a host of of Rodon's eight no-decisions. The bullpen allowed 26 runs in 26 innings in those same eight games. The pen allowed 19 runs in 11 innings in his final three starts, all of them no-decisions. Especially painful were Rodon's two starts against North Carolina, in which he allowed three runs, one earned, on 11 hits in 152 ⁄3 in- nings. He walked four and struck out 19. He received no decision for either. The Wolfpack lost both, one in 12 innings. Not once did Rodon leave a game in 2012 with his team trailing. "Coming into the season, my goal was just DREAM SEASON to compete and try to contribute whenever I was called on," Rodon said. "After the first game of the year, though, I realized I was good enough to win in this league. After that, I just wanted to win every time I went out there." Freshman Pitcher Carlos Rodon Became The Most Decorated Player In NC State History finalist for National Player of the Year. For his accomplishments this season, Rodon, along with Ryan Hill, was named The Wolfpacker's Co-Athlete of the Year. While the postseason acclaim was nice, Rodon's eyes were on a bigger prize. The awards were just consolation. "Those are all great accolades and I'm honored, but that's not why I play the game," Rodon said during a break in practices with Team USA. "My entire focus is to win games for our team. Our goal was to go to Omaha [and the College World Series] and win a championship as a team, and we fell short of that. That still hurts. Now our focus is to get to Omaha next year and win." If the Wolfpack is to achieve that goal of playing in the College World Series in 2013, it would help immeasurably if Rodon can re- peat his remarkable performance of this past spring, when he was 9-0 with a 1.57 ERA in 17 appearances (16 starts). He allowed 71 hits, struck out 135 and walked 41 in 1142 ⁄3 innings. Opposing hitters batted just .176 with Rodon on the mound. Rodon's 135 strikeouts ranks third in NC State's single-season record book. He tied Shawn Senior's 1991 school record of nine wins in a season by a freshman. Consid- ering his 1.49 ERA in eight no-decisions, he easily could have challenged Matt Donahue's single-season school record of 14 wins, set in 1992, with just a little bit more support. NC State scored three or fewer runs in four 114 ■ THE WOLFPACKER Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), the American Baseball Coaches Associa- tion (ABCA), Perfect Game and Baseball America, giving him a clean sweep and making him NC State's sixth first-team All- American and the first Wolfpack freshman ever so honored. None of the Pack's previous five first- team All-Americans was named by more than one organization or publication. Rodon was named first team by everyone, mak- Rodon was an easy choice for first-team All-ACC, and also was named the ACC's Freshman of the Year and Pitcher of the Year, making him the Wolfpack's first ACC Freshman of the Year since Tom Sergio in 1994 and its first ACC Pitcher of the Year ever. The national awards soon followed. Rodon was named a first-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, the National College "Our goal was to go to Omaha and win a championship as a team, and we fell short of that. That still hurts. Now our focus is to get to Omaha next year and win." ■ Rodon Baseball. While he didn't win either honor, Rodon is the first NCAA Division I freshman ever to be a finalist for the Golden Spikes. "I was surprised by that," Rodon said. "I didn't think I'd even be considered, so it wasn't even on my mind." After one season, he already ranks as argu- ably the most honored and decorated player in Wolfpack baseball history. To give an indication how dominant Rodon was, several area scouts, requesting anonymity, said that if Rodon had been eli- gible for Major League Baseball's 2012 draft, he would have been the first player taken. Aaron Fitt, Baseball America's national col- lege writer, said the same thing after Rodon thoroughly dominated fifth-ranked North Carolina for nine shutout innings, allowing four hits and striking out 12, on May 26 at the ACC Championship. Don't tell Rodon, however. That's all in the past and he doesn't spend much time looking in the rear-view mirror. For now, it's all full- speed ahead. "I suppose after the summer is over, I'll sit down and look back, and it'll dawn on me what a great year it was," Rodon said. "Right now, I'm just trying to get ready for this sum- mer with Team USA and help this team win a gold medal." ■ Rodon, the ACC's Freshman of the Year and Pitcher of the Year, went 9-0 with a 1.57 ERA and was a unanimous first-team All-American. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN ing him the Wolfpack's first-ever consensus first-team All-American. Rodon and third baseman Trea Turner were no-brainer choices for Freshman All- America honors, the 15th and 16th Freshman All-Americans in program history. On top of that, Rodon was named National Freshman Pitcher of the Year by Collegiate Baseball and by the NCBWA. Meanwhile, the College Baseball Hall of Fame named Rodon one of three finalists for its National Pitcher of the Year award, which will be announced on June 30 at that organi- zation's annual Night of Champions. And if all that wasn't enough, Rodon was in the running for National Player of the Year honors as well. He was a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Award, presented by the NCBWA, and one of three finalists for the Golden Spikes Award, presented by USA

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolfpacker - July 2012