#29 North Carolina State Baseball 2017 Preview

North Carolina State Wolfpack
Overall Rank: #29
Conference Rank: #7 ACC
North Carolina State Logo 
North Carolina State hosted a regional last season, but fell in the regional final to eventual national champions Coastal Carolina. The Wolfpack will hope to host a regional again this year, but the pitching needs to improve for that to happen. Gone are top starter Ryan Williamson and closer Will Gilbert and Coach Elliott Avent will have to find a few new pitchers to join Brian Brown and Cory Wilder. Those two combined to start 30 games last season, so they do not lack in experience. Freshman Dalton Feeney could provide a big boost to the pitching staff.
2016: 38-22, 15-13
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Elliott Avent
Key Departed Players:
Ryan Williamson, P, 2.69 ERA, 70.1 IP, 77 SO
Will Gilbert, P, 2.22 ERA, 52.2 IP, 62 SO, 6 SV
Preston Palmeiro, .337 BA, 9 HR, 55 RBI
Andrew Knizner, .292 BA, 6 HR, 30 RBI
Chance Shepard, .279 BA, 15 HR, 54 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Brian Brown, P, 3.70 ERA, 87.2 IP, 79 SO
Cory Wilder, P, 4.61 ERA, 56.2 IP, 40 SO
Evan Mendoza, IF, .362 BA, 4 HR, 33 RBI
Brock Deatherage, OF, .317 BA, 6 HR, 39 RBI
Josh McLain, OF, .300 BA, 4 HR, 37 RBI
Joe Dunand, IF, .297 BA, 4 HR, 41 RBI
Brett Kinneman, OF, .296 BA, 6 HR, 32 RBI
Stephen Pitarra, IF, .291 BA, 0 HR, 25 RBI
Despite the loss of some big bats, including Andrew Knizner, Preston Palmeiro, who hit .337 with nine homeruns and 55 RBIs, and Chance Shepard, who belted a team high 15 homeruns, the Wolfpack should have a very dangerous offense. Evan Mendoza hit an impressive .362 as a sophomore and is only getting better. The outfield boasts three very talented hitters who will drive in plenty of runs. Brock Deatherage hit .317 last season with six homeruns and 39 RBIs. Josh McLain was also a .300 hitter and Brett Kinneman is coming off Freshman All-American honors and has the potential to turn into one of the best all-around hitters in the ACC. However, it is likely the pitching that could see North Carolina State take a step back this season. That step back should still result in a trip to the NCAA Tournament, but there could be some more struggles in the very tough ACC in 2017.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament
Madness 2017 Draft Rankings:
#22 Joe Dunand