But the No. 16 Wolfpack (43-18) still have a legitimate chance to advance to the College World Series, thanks to the arm of Carlos Rodon. On Wednesday, the freshman left hander was named the National Freshman Pitcher of the Year on Wednesday by Collegiate Baseball. He comes into the weekend with a 9-0 record, and a 1.61 ERA. Unfortunately, some of Rodon’s finest performances have come in games where his teammates could not find their niche at the plate.
Offensively, NC State is led by Ryan Mathews (62 RBI,) Chris Diaz (.356 average) and Trea Turner (.344 average and leads the country with 56 stolen bases.) Besides those three, the Wolfpack may lack the firepower needed to counter Florida’s powerhouse hitters.
NC State used a 9-7 come from behind win against Vanderbilt on Monday to advance. The Wolfpack played sloppy in the middle innings, allowing Vanderbilt to accumulate seven runs by the end of the fifth inning. Junior Tarran Senay saved the day, thanks to a five RBI performance in a mere three innings of work, including a three run home run.
Florida (45-18) leads the way with some amazing offensive prowess. Catcher Mike Zunino hit a three run home run during Sunday’s Regional Championship game, improving his batting average to .316. The junior has now batted in 60 runs this season, and has hit 18 home runs.
Senior Preston Tucker also is having a strong year at the plate, also hitting .316, with 15 home runs. The outfielder has played every game this season, and now holds the Gator record for most games played. He also has a long history of bringing his A game to tournament play, with a .371 career average int he tournament and two Regional weekend Most Outstanding Player titles under his belt.
The Gators pitching also goes a long way to proving their number one ranking. In last week’s regionals, sophomore Jonathan Crawford pitched a no-hitter in his very first postseason start. Crawford comes into the Super Regionals with a 6-2 record and 2.92 era. Crawford is part of a starting staff that includes Greg Larson, who has a 1.31 ERA and a 6-0 record this season, and Hudson Randall, who has a 2.24 era and 8-2 record. Last Saturday, the junior righty allowed only one run in over five innings of work against Georgia Tech.
Randall will get the start for the Gators in game one of the weekend series. NC State’s Rodan will pitch either Saturday or Sunday – as of Friday morning, the Wolfpack had not released their exact rotation.
Schedule and TV Listings
Game 1 – Saturday 2pm (ESPNU)
Game 2 – Sunday 1pm (ESPNU)
Game 3 (if needed) – Monday 1pm (ESPN2)