Sunday, February 15, 2015

Opening Weekend!

While a large majority of baseball fans are getting ready for the beginning of spring training this week the college baseball season kicked off this weekend.  As a resident of Raleigh-Durham that means that the big 3 ACC teams returned to action Friday afternoon.  I wish there would be a year where I could attend the opening of college baseball, but they tend to play their first games during the day and there is a little matter of work.  For me, Friday met work with a meeting where I was a presenter.  I did not make it to a baseball field.  Instead I followed along on Twitter.

The Tar Heels got started early in the day and had dozens of posts leading up to their early afternoon game against Seton Hall.  The sixth ranked Heels defeated Seton Hall 7-1 behind some great hitting from outfielders Tyler Ramirez and Snorting Bull favorite Skye Bolt.  The Heels have a good core of players returning this year and should go deep into the NCAA tournament this spring.  If you get a chance to check out a Tar Heels baseball game this year I would watch the two aforementioned outfielders along with Landon Lassiter and pitcher Trent Thorton.

My primary rooting interest, and alma mater, NC State also played a mid afternoon game on Friday.  While I was analyzing student data looking at gaps in achievement levels and text levels for students at the mid year point, the Wolfpack were battling Villanova.  The Wolfpack won the game 14-5, but put the Wildcats in an 11-0 hole after the first three innings.  The offensive star of the game for the Pack 9 was Preston Palmeiro, son of Rafael, whose three run bomb in the second made the score 10-0 and essential sealed the win.  NC State had two first round draft picks last year, Trea Turner and Carlos Rodon, and about six or seven other players on the team selected afterwards.  This should be a year where the team takes a bit of a step back, but if you watch a Wolfpack game be sure to check out Palmeiro and senior Jake Armstrong.

And last up was Duke's game on the west coast against the Cal Bears.  While Duke does not have the talent or ranking of UNC's squad they have the best player in the area in pitcher Mike Matuella (pictured above).  The triangle area has had a good run of pitchers from all three schools over the last decade from Andrew Miller, Daniel Bard, and Matt Harvey at UNC to Carlos Rodon at State, and Marcus Stroman at Duke.  Matuella appears to be the latest in that line and should be off the board in the first couple of picks in this summer's MLB amateur draft.  Of all the players I want to see this spring he is absolutely at the top of the list.  Might happen next weekend.

So, outside of getting to see each of the triangle area ACC baseball squads play here are my goals for this college baseball season:

1.  See Mike Mattuella pitch for Duke.

2.  See an NC Central game at the original Durham Athletic Park.

3.  Go to the ACC Championship game at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park

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