NC State Baseball 2016

So it’s that time of year again. Yep, I know it’s probably snuck up on most of you seeing how it’s still all wintry and stuff, but in only a couple of days the Pack9 kicks off the 2016 season.

And 2016 has the potential to be a pretty darned good year for baseball in Raleigh.

A year ago the Pack struggled at times, but still managed to come on strong down the stretch and ended up coming up just one game short of an ACC title. And while we will NOT discuss what happened in Fort Worth the following week (up yours, TCU), I will say that I’m confident the players have not forgotten how that felt either.

Onward and upward to 2016.

High Hopes

The Pack9 enters 2016 with a top ten pre-season ranking (#10). But as always, the ACC is not without a bevy of teams with high expectations. By division, this is a reasonable projected preseason expectation of pecking order coming into the season, with ranked teams shown in parenthesis:


  1. (2)Louisville
  2. (10)NC State
  3. (20)Florida State
  4. *Notre Dame
  5. *Clemson
  6. *Wake Forest
  7. Boston College


  1. (6)Miami
  2. (13)Virginia
  3. (16)North Carolina
  4. *Georgia Tech
  5. Duke
  6. Virginia Tech
  7. Pitt

*In addition to those with preseason rankings, ND and GT are likely strong enough in ’16 to dip in and out (at least) of the rankings as the season goes along, with Wake and Clemson likely in the hunt for NCAA Regional bids as well. In other words, as always, the Atlantic Division will be tough.  It will be interesting to see who sneaks up and who fails miserably.

The Schedule

State kicks things off on the road this Friday in the Baseball at the Beach event hosted by Coastal Carolina each year. The Pack opens up against Old Dominion on Friday, faces the host Chanticleers on Saturday, and wraps things up against Kent State on Sunday.

Next week, the Pack will stay busy, weather permitting, as they welcome Morehead State and St John’s to Raleigh for midweek single games on Tuesday and Wednesday, before welcoming Wright State to town for a weekend three gamer February 26-28.

Looking down the road to the ’16 conference season, the Pack will have their work cut out for them on the road this year as they will have to travel to face all of (2)Louisville, (13)UVa, (20)FSU, Clemson, and GT. On the other hand, the Pack’s home conference slate includes all of the fellow Big Four schools coming to Raleigh, along with ND and BC.

Full Schedule

The Team



Brian Brown

It’s no secret what the Pack needs from the pitching staff in ’16…better control. Throw strikes, limit the freebies. Often in ’15 they weren’t so good at doing that in crucial moments. But when they had command they were really good, and most of the pieces return for ’16. Joe O’Donnell(#42,JR,RHP) and Brian Brown(#38,SO,LHP) are expected to anchor the starting rotation.  Both had great years last year, with the frosh Brown garnering 1st team Freshman All-America honors.

The other regular spots are a little less clear. While big Johnny Piedmonte(#33,R-JR,RHP), whose fastball was up to the mid 90’s in fall ball, and Corey Wilder(#35,JR,RHP), whose control escaped him all too often last year (but he was nearly untouchable when he was on) will undoubtedly be in the mix, Evan Mendoza(#18,SO,RHP) or Austin Staley(#20,R-FR,RHP) might have something to say about it as well. Any of the four may also end up as important pieces in the bullpen.

In the bullpen, Tommy DeJuneas(#42,SO,RHP) will look to improve his command and build on his impressive frosh season. Always steady and reliable, Travis Orwig(#39,R-SR,LHP) and Will Gilbert(#51,SR,LHP) are both back as well. The Pack also welcomes lefty Sean Adler(#29,R-JR,LHP) to the pen this year, a USC transfer.


Logan Ratledge, who finally realized his potential and came on strong in ’16, is gone. And while just about everybody else of note is back, it will be no small feat to replace Ratledge, both offensively and defensively.


Andrew Knizner

Andrew Knizner(#11,JR,C), who not only made the move from 3B to Catcher in ’15, but absolutely killed it in the process, is probably the Pack’s biggest key in ’16. But it’s not as if the rest of the Pack’s infield can be overlooked.

Preston Palmeiro(#12,JR,1B), Joe Dunand(#3,SO,INF) and Ryne Willard(#8,SR,INF), who came on nicely last year, all look to build on strong seasons at the plate. The defacto replacement of Ratledge, on the other hand, appears likely to fall on true freshman Xavier LeGrant(#2,FR,INF), a speedy middle infielder from Charlotte. One of the top recruits in the country, LeGrant has the potential to step in and make an impact from day 1.


Palmero and Dunand celebrate ’15 ACCT win over Miami.

Aside from Palmeiro anchoring first base, exactly where and how the other three will piece together on defense will probably be somewhat fluid, at least initially. Dunand manned 3B well last year, but he is more the natural SS. LeGrant is a natural 2B, but his skills may slot him to 3B, with Willard, who spent most of ’15 at SS, falling into 2B by default.

Confused? Me too.

Like I said, it might be somewhat fluid for a while more than likely. LeGrant’s arm, and who is comfortable with whom in the middle infield DP combo will settle the issue eventually.

(hat tip to theCOWDOG for this suggestion)


State returns an outfield full of speed, and hopefully a year better experienced. Brock Deatherage(#13,SO,OF), Josh McLain(#15,SO,OF) and Shane Shepard(#16,SO,OF), all sophomores, should hopefully be a year better defensively as a result. Where the outfield really needs to improve however, is at the plate.

While Deatherage was more than respectable in ’15, with a more favorable spot in the order he should be able to up his production considerably.

McLain and Shepard, on the other hand….well, if they can combine to approach the Mendoza line it will be a distinct improvement. Hoping for a happy surprise here because McLain especially, with his speed, could be a game changer much the same way Trea Turner was when he got on base.

But Josh…first you gotta get on base. If you don’t, Garrett Suggs(#10,R-SO,OF) is just waiting to take your job, son.

And lest I forget, Shane’s big brother Chance Shepard(#24,SR,C/DH). Toward the end of the year he settled in nicely in his DH role, and I know of no reason why that will change, while spelling Knizner behind the plate at times.

Hopefully he’s gotten used to the hero role as well.

So, it’s baseball.  Potentially some really good baseball.  It’s too early to talk Omaha of course, but the pieces are there.  In any case, you should get your butts out to the Doak and take in some games either way.  It’s always a good time.

Go Pack!!!!

About Wufpacker

A 2nd generation alumnus and raised since birth to be irrationally dedicated to all things NC State. Class of '88 and '92.

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  • #99628

    So it’s that time of year again. Yep, I know it’s probably snuck up on most of you seeing how it’s still all wintry and stuff, but in only a couple of
    [See the full post at: NC State Baseball 2016]


    What an unexpected surprise, you did indeed sneak up on me. Thanks for the fantastic preview, looking forward to following this season.


    Great writeup… Wufpacker!

    I heard PACK9 season tickets are just $140..

    If you are in the Triangle… and you can make half the games…
    you’re guaranteed to get your money’s worth…
    which is more than we can say with respect to football and basketball….

    Why not???

    #NCSU-North Carolina's #1 FOOTBALL school!

    Should be a fun year. Finally got season tickets for the first time since I moved back. I loved watching baseball back when I was in school. Such a perfect event. Laid back and all.


    I realized late last week that I have a frigging dentist appointment scheduled for the day of the home opener. Wasn’t happy. Am currently on the “wait list” for either a different day, or an earlier appt. time the same day.

    Also considering just canceling outright if I don’t get the appt. upgrade in the next day or two, but also trying to keep the weather in mind. Might rain Tuesday from the look of it anyway. So many variables to early season attendance.


    Heard that Dunand will start at SS at least initially.

    O’Donnell had a very good summer at the Cape Cod League.

    As long as they use the end of the TCU game as motivation for this year, who knows how well this season can go.

    Good luck to the Pack9!

    Here is a 5 minute podcast that the guys from did as a preview for NC State:

    D1Baseball Preview Podcast


    ^ Awesome. I’d somehow missed that. Made me feel smart though….McLain!!!!! Hehehe…Die Hard reference???? Nobody??? Screw you’s.

    Fitt and Rogers et al know dey stuff.


    Huzzah! Something we might be good at AND that I can understand!!!

    /my apologies to wrestling, of which I am still proud


    Nice writeup Wuf-you are treading in Dr. BP territory and that is a very good thing!


    Nice writeup Wuf-you are treading in Dr. BP territory and that is a very good thing!

    One could not offer a bigger compliment, but probably not true.
    His self-imposed banishment (which I totally get and have been struggling with myself lately) makes this blog weaker for his absence. I always learned from his insights.

    Come back, Winston Wolf….we miss thee…


    Thanks Wuf. Enjoyed it.

    Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy. Mao Zedong

    Dr. BadgerPack

    Well… you did say please Wufpacker.

    Splendid preview!


    When it comes to Wolfpack sports – regardless of the quality of the teams in a given year – I rarely find myself wishing I was still in Raleigh specifically so I could attend basketball or football games. But going to baseball games at the Doak… I still miss that.


    Garrison Keillor described how the local townsfolk talked about new seasons as if it was unfathomable that it could be a new season already; as if they were shocked that it happened once again. Four surprises every year. Sports seasons are like that, too. For some reason baseball always seems to sneak up the most, though. I don’t know if it’s something about several feet of snow on the ground being at such an eternal distance from the dog days or what. I’m always glad to hear about it, though. Baseball already. Whoda thunk it. Hope I get to watch some games this year. It’s hard following through gametracker and SFN updates. But I’m thankful for them nonetheless.


    My apologies in advance for taking a very minor detour from this wonderful topic, but PackerInRussia, I’ve always been curious. Are you really in Russia, and if yes, how did you end up there? I know a lot of Pack fans feel like they are in Siberia, but only in a figurative sense.

    Great topic by the way. I cannot wait for the season to get started.



    So…I just got back from visiting with the youngsters at the yard,in fact.


    Well… you did say please Wufpacker.

    Well I’ll be…WWITH. Just made my day. 🙂

    So CD, what pearls did you glean and/or impart?


    ^ Well, Wuf. I know the Williams kid, so…I talked a bit with him, and noticed ??? on some other faces, like…who’s that shaggy haired ol’ f#%k.

    I saw the Frosh pitcher, Acosta’s older brother pitch in Cali a few times, so Williams got him over.

    Of course, I got around to my 3 straight ACC rings.



    The wrestling team is doing well, as mentioned, but again, all is not lost in basketball, as the women are also having a good season.


    Sometimes I just gotta shake my head and move on.


    Of course, I got around to my 3 straight ACC rings.


    I would be disappointed in anything less.

    john of sparta

    i have posted from
    toyko, panama city, st. petersburg, and istanbul.
    essentially, i am where i make more money than anywhere else.


    ^ That’s a great way to do it. My job takes me all over the world, but I’m never in one place more than a few weeks at a time. I’ve come close to putting down stakes for a few years in other countries, but I’ve just never pulled the trigger.


    I ended up here for work and have stayed. I own a business with another guy. I’m certainly not pursuing citizenship or anything and I make regular trips back to the US, but I’ve grown to enjoy it. But don’t worry, I’m still white, blue, and red through and through.


    In Soviet Russia, ball bases YOU!!

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