Baseball America will break down all 16 regionals, including Raleigh, hosted by North Carolina State.
|STAT PACK (National rank in parentheses)
|Avg.||Scoring (R/G)||HR||SB||ERA||K/9||WHIP||Fielding %age|
|1. N.C. State||.299 (35)||6.7 (48)||48 (45)||45 (185)||4.11 (94)||8.4 (27)||1.44 (113)||.974 (45)|
|2. Coastal Carolina||.301 (32)||7.7 (14)||89 (2)||99 (12)||3.49 (37)||8.2 (43)||0.76 (7)||.970 (105)|
|3. St. Mary’s||.271 (157)||5.4 (148)||37 (98)||40 (218)||3.51 (38)||7.4 (112)||1.30 (40)||.967 (159)|
|4. Navy||.299 (36)||6.3 (73)||17 (252)||41 (212)||2.78 (4)||7.9 (66)||1.17 (8)||.967 (162)|
North Carolina State (35-20, 15-13 Atlantic Coast Conference)
28th appearance (second straight), at-large, third in ACC Atlantic
Top 300 Prospects: LHP Ryan Williamson (184), RHP Cory Wilder (231), C Andrew Knizner (258), 1B Preston Palmeiro (289)
Season In A Sentence: Despite—or thanks to—the second-toughest schedule in the nation—the Wolfpack will host their first regional since 2013, which they won to go on to super regionals, eventually advancing to Omaha.
Player To Watch: Preston Palmeiro, 1b: The junior is a critical piece in the heart of N.C. State’s lineup. He started all but one of the Wolfpack’s 55 games this season and is hitting .327/.411/.527 with eight home runs. The Wolfpack will need to put up a big weekend offensively, and that starts with Palmeiro.
Best Weekend: at Charlottesville, Va., April 1-3. After a series loss to Boston College in mid March, the Wolfpack rebounded nicely with a series win over Notre Dame and then took two of three from defending champ Virginia. Williamson struck out 10 in the finale in six innings.
Outlook: It depends largely on the health of the Wolfpack pitching staff. With several of the top options dinged up—Ryan Williamson’s availability is in doubt and righthander Joe O’Donnell has been sidelined—North Carolina State will have to lean on sophomore lefty Brian Brown, who’s struggled of late, and junior righthander Cory Wilder. Johnny Piedmonte, the Wolfpack’s Opening Day starter who has struggled all year, could also be an option. It’s a tough draw, especially with the opener likely against Navy lefthander Luke Gillingham.
Top 300 Prospects: None.
Season In A Sentence: After an up-and-down start against the seventh-toughest non-conference schedule, the slugging Chanticleers—who hit 89 homers—won their final 10 and 31 of their final 37 games, making a case they should have been a regional host.
Player To Watch: Andrew Beckwith, rhp. The junior was 10-1, 1.79, making five starts and 15 relief appearances. He struck out 56 and walked just 12 in 80 innings and will get the start Friday against St. Mary’s ace Corbin Burnes, who’s No. 58 on the BA 500.
Best Weekend: at Caravelle Resort Baseball at the Beach, Conway, S.C., Feb. 26-29. Hosting a series of tournaments to start the season is the norm for the Chants. In this one, on the second weekend of the season, they won three of four in Conway, beating Marshall, Duke and Ohio State.
Outlook: The Chants can hit and they’ve faced the Wolfpack already, falling 13-10 in their second game of the year. Senior Zach Remillard hit 18 homers—more than the entire 2014 team hit—while senior right fielder Connor Owings and junior DH G.K. Young hit 15. If Beckwith can beat St. Mary’s, eyes would fall on Alex Cunningham—who pitched against N.C. State in February—in a potential rematch in Game Two.
St. Mary’s (33-23, 18-9 West Coast Conference)
Top 300 Prospects: RHP Corbin Burnes (58)
Season In A Sentence: The Gaels started promisingly, but slowed in the middle and had to rescue their season by winning seven of their last eight games, including the WCC tournament, pounding Gonzaga twice and hitting .372 as a team to win the WCC auto-bid.
Player To Watch: Corbin Burnes, rhp. Burnes, likely to be a first-day pick next in the MLB Draft next Thursday, was 9-1, 2.23 with 112 strikeouts in 97 innings. The junior sits 91-93 mph with his fastball and has touched 95. His curveball has power to it, and he gets swings and misses with it.
Best Weekend: at WCC Tournament, May 26-28. It’s clear the tournament was the Gaels’ best weekend. The automatic bid gave St. Mary’s its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance.
Outlook: A pitcher such as Burnes gives any team a puncher’s chance in a regional, although he’ll be matched against a powerful offense. The Gaels are coming in hot, as sophomore Zack Kirtley (.326, 7 home runs, 43 RBIs) was 10-for-17 in the WCC tournament.
Navy (42-14, 15-5 in Patriot League)
Top 300 Prospects: None.
Season In A Sentence: The Midshipmen, led by senior lefthander Luke Gillingham, had a program-record 42 wins, thanks to a staff that was fourth in the nation in ERA (2.78) and second in shutouts (12).
Player To Watch: Luke Gillingham, lhp. The senior southpaw was 8-3, 1.96 with eight complete games, including four shutouts. He allowed just one homer in 87 innings. Gillingham is not overpowering (86-89 mph) but his curveball and changeup have improved. His command has sharpened to the point of being called plus-plus by a coach.
Best Weekend: vs. Army, April 23-24. When you’re Navy, there’s nothing quite like facing Army—and sweeping your military brethren in a four-game set. Gillingham set the tone with a complete game and 10 strikeouts in the opener.
Outlook: The Mids can pitch, but they don’t have a lot of power (just 17 homers). Still, if Gillingham delivers a blow to N.C. State in the opener, it certainly leaves the regional wide open.