Raleigh Regional Breakdown
The North Carolina State Wolfpack head into the Raleigh Regional with plenty of reasons to be very confident in a postseason run to Omaha. The pieces to execute the aggressive small ball offense of Elliott Avent are in place with Trea Turner stealing bases at almost one per game with 55. Chris Diaz leads in batting average at .364, and Ryan Matthews provides the thunder with 14 homeruns and 54 runs batted in. On the mound, Carlos Rodon, the Freshman of the Year in the ACC, has electric stuff as he has struck out 126 in 105 innings and is 9-0 with a 1.46 earned run average. It will be interesting to see Rodon on Saturday go after the team coming out of the 2-3 game in the winners’ bracket contest.
The #2 seed in the Raleigh Regional is the Vanderbilt Commodores out of the SEC. The Commodores have been getting stronger with their play late in the season and will be a tough out if they can get consistency out of their pitching staff under head coach Tim Corbin. Anthony Gomez is the offensive leader with a batting average of .354 and 51 runs batted in on the season for Vanderbilt. Sam Selman has probably been the most reliable starting pitcher as he has a 9-3 record, with a 3.33 earned run average. It will interesting to see if Corbin saves Selman for a Saturday night showdown against NC State or use him to get past a tough UNC Wilmington squad.
Joining the 3 seed North Carolina-Wilmington is the 4 seed Sacred Heart. The Seahawks of UNC-Wilmington come out of the Colonial Athletic Association as champions and have the look of a potentially dangerous number three seed. They battled North Carolina tough earlier in May and have two strong pitchers in Mat Bats and Tyler McSwain that will give the Seahawks a great chance of making a run in Raleigh. Offensively, they can beat you with power and run wild on the bases as UNC-Wilmington has over 100 stolen bases this season. Thomas Pope leads the way in batting average at.381 and Tyler Molinaro leads the team in homeruns with 15 on the season. Sacred Heart comes in as champions of the Northeast Conference despite being outscored by 70 runs in 2012. John Murphy is their best all-around offensive player as he hit .347 for the Pioneers and has driven in 34 runs. Dan Perez also has had a big offensive season with 36 runs batted in as well.