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baseball report

Last season: 36-21 (13-16 ACC), lost in Columbia Regional
Final ranking: NR
Coach (record at school): Elliott Avent (998-592, 27 seasons)

Coming in at #19 in our preseason rankings.

They have one of the deepest pitching staffs in the ACC. Fifth-year senior Matt Willadsen (5-5,
3.78 ERA) will again be a weekend starter for the Wolfpack, while sophomore lefthander
Dominic Fritton will make the jump to the rotation full time. Last year, Fritton worked a 3-4 record with a 3.59 ERA and split time between the bullpen and rotation. He has an above-average riding fastball and a quality curveball, and could be in line for a standout season.

Also look for SUNY-Cortland (Division-III) transfer Shane Van Dam (2-1, 3.07 ERA) to make his mark in his first season in Raleigh. A former quarterback on the Cortland football team, the 6-foot-6 Van Dam moves well on the mound and is armed with a mid-90s fastball and a sharp, high-spin slider.
In relief, veteran righthanders Logan Whitaker (5-3, 4.29 ERA) and Sam Highfill (6-4, 4.83 ERA) will handle the late-inning duties.

Tennessee transfer Hollis Fanning (0-0, 1.26 ERA) will also be a key relief arm. In addition to its returners and strong transfer class, a trio of freshmen arms in Ryan Marohn, Chance Mako and Jacob Dudan also figure to log their fair share of innings. Marohn has a chance to be the team’s midweek starter come opening day.

At the plate, the dynamic duo of catcher Jacob Cozart (.301/.392/.546) and outfielder Eli Serrano III (.292/.389/.470) lead the way, while fifth-year Noah Soles (.305/.443/.466), Wichita State transfer Garrett Pennington (.289/.351/.534), East Carolina transfer Alec Makarewicz (.258/.356/.476) and Western Carolina transfer Brandon Butterworth (.301/.370/.479) really lengthen the lineup and provide a blend of power and hit-ability. Freshmen Luke Nixon and Alex Sosa also seem to be in line for everyday roles after impressive showings this fall.

Opening Day for the Wolfpack’s 2024 season is set for Feb. 16 when NC State welcomes VCU for a three-game series at The Doak. NC State then makes a lengthy road trip to Hawaii for the first time since 2017, playing a three-game series against the Rainbow Warriors from Feb. 23-25.

NC State plays its next 10 games at home, welcoming Queens (Feb. 28), Towson (March 1-3) and Winthrop (March 5) before opening ACC play against Boston College from March 8-10. The Wolfpack concludes its 10-game homestand against UNCG on March 12.

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