After falling short to Duke during the ACC Championship game on May 30, the NC State baseball team (30-17, 19-14 ACC) now looks forward to the NCAA Regionals. The Wolfpack received the No. 2 seed for the Ruston Regional alongside top-seed Louisiana Tech, No. 3 Alabama and No. 4 Rider.
This is the 10th time in the past 11 years of the tournament being held that the Wolfpack has earned an at-large bid to compete. In addition, this regional appearance is NC State’s 32nd overall postseason appearance and sixth straight.
NC State faces Alabama while Louisiana Tech faces Rider in a double-elimination format. Regionals run from June 4-7 at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park in Ruston, Louisiana.
NC State takes on Alabama (31-24, 12-17 SEC) in game one of the regional, the Crimson Tide’s first regional appearance since 2014. Most recently, Alabama suffered an 11-0 loss against No. 4 Tennessee in the SEC Tournament. Alabama’s biggest win of the season came against No. 1 Arkansas when the Tide took game one of the series in 16-1 fashion.
Alabama has two everyday players with a batting average above .300: infielder Zane Denton and utility player Peyton Wilson. Denton leads the way for the Tide with a team-highest .310 average and .406 on-base percentage among qualified players. Wilson’s batting average of .301 is the second highest in Alabama’s lineup. Catcher Sam Praytor leads the team in home runs and RBIs with 13 and 46, respectively.
Right-handed pitcher Chase Lee has the team’s best ERA with 1.21 over 37.1 innings pitched. He is followed by William Freeman, who posts a 2.41 ERA over 52.1 innings pitched. Dylan Smith has pitched the most innings for the Tide with an ERA of 4.13 over 89.1 innings.
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (40-18, 22-8 CUSA) host the Ruston Regional after receiving the regional’s No. 1 seed and 16th overall seed for the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs’ first game of the regional comes Friday against Rider. In its last appearance on the diamond, Tech lost to No. 18 Old Dominion 5-7 in 10 innings on May 30 which snapped a three-game win streak.
The Bulldogs have six players with at least 100 at-bats and a batting average above .300 with three of those players sporting an average over .350. Infielder Hunter Wells leads Tech, hitting .366 with 61 runs and 90 hits. Outfielder Parker Bates is not far behind Wells, hitting at .354 with 59 runs and 75 hits; he also leads the Bulldogs in RBIs with 55.
Left-handed pitcher Jonathan Fincher leads the team in innings pitched with 92.1 and his ERA of 3.12 is the fourth lowest on the team. Jarret Whorff follows Fincher with 78.2 innings pitched with an ERA of 3.66. In the bullpen, right-handed pitchers Bryce Fagan, Cade Hodges and Tanner Knight lead in ERA with 0.00, 2.45, and 2.79, respectively.
Rider University (23-16, 18-16 MAAC) earned the No. 4 seed in the Ruston Regional and is playing in the NCAA tournament for the 14th time in program history and first time since 2010. The Broncs’ ticket to Ruston was punched with their MAAC Championship victory against No. 1-seeded Fairfield, with a final score of 7-2.
Rider has three batters hitting above .300, all infielders: John Volpe, Jake Barbiere and David Bermudez. The trio hit at .316, .308 and .304, respectively. The same three also lead the Bulldogs in on-base percentage with .444, .433 and .430. Outfielder Sean McGeehan leads the team in RBIs with 31 on a .212 batting average.
Pitchers Pete Soporowski and Frank Doelling have both thrown over 50 innings for the Bulldogs. Soporowski has the fifth-lowest ERA of 3.20 over 59.0 innings pitched while Doelling follows with a 3.35 ERA over 51.0 innings.
NC State faces Alabama at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 4 followed by Louisiana Tech versus Rider at 7 p.m. The losers and winners of each game face each other, respectively, Saturday, June 5. The full schedule for the regional can be found here.