The Wolfpack Baseball program comes off a 2021 season tarnished by their exclusion from the College World Series following a debacle with the NCAA over COVID-19 policies. This came in a season where they looked poised to go all the way and become College World Series champions for the first time in the program’s history.
At pitcher, the Wolfpack retains one of its best players in Sam Highfill, with standout performer Reid Johnston being drafted. Johnston, who led the team in strikeouts, will leave a void at pitcher. Matt Willadsen and Chris Villaman were also key players on the mound for the Wolfpack in 2021, and are most likely to step up and account for the loss of Johnston.
In addition to the loss of Johnston, the Wolfpack has lost their best fielder from last season in Austin Murr, who led the team in double-plays while recording zero errors. However, one of the most productive fielders in J.T. Jarrett was retained.
On offense, the team will need players to rise to the occasion as four of the best hitters from the 2021 season were drafted and at present appear to leave a large gap in the batting lineup. Devonte Brown, a senior this year, is the strongest hitter to carry over from last season.
While many of the top performers from last season’s championship contender team have been lost to the draft, there have been a number of newcomers via transfers and recruiting that have the potential to recreate the magic of last year.
The recruiting class included two of the top-10 prospects in the state, Payton Green and Jacob Cozart. In addition to these strong batters, the team acquired former Ivy League Rookie of the Year Josh Hood, who has transferred in from Penn State. The pitching corps will be invigorated by the arrival of the lofty Floridian Logan Adams and Lousianan standout Justin Lawson.
NC State kicks off their season on February 18th with a series at home hosting Evansville. Their first ACC matchup is at home against Notre Dame on March 11th. The team is poised to become back-to-back NCAA regional champions for the first time since 2012 and 2013.
This will be the final season at Doak Stadium before its renovation; read more about the stadium rejuvenation here.