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NC State's Matt Willadsen Likely Out For The Season

(Photo courtesy of NC State Athletics)

By Nicholas Dioli

We are nine days away from Opening Day, and the NC State Wolfpack will be starting the season off without one of their starting pitchers, Matt Willadsen, after he suffered a potentially season-ending UCL tear.

In 2023, Willadsen had a career-low 3.78 ERA with an 86/31 K-to-walk ratio. The Saturday starter was looking to be one of State's best arms in the starting rotation, but unfortunately that has come to a screeching halt. UCL injuries can be tricky, because the timelines can be vague depending on the tear, but it is highly probable that he will be out for the season.

NC State returns a lot of pitchers from the 2023 squad, including senior leader Sam Highfill. They also brought in transfer Shane Van Dam from SUNY Cortland, who was originally projected to be a midweek starter. In 2023, the Wolfpack struggled to find a rotation that stuck, and it seemed they could never get in rhythm. The lack of pitching consistency last year was a huge factor why NC State dropped some ACC series that should've been wins.

With everyone returning, the chemistry being built, and players getting comfortable with their set roles, it appeared NC State's pitching staff would be one to keep an eye on in 2024. With the loss of Willadsen, the Wolfpack will most likely turn to Van Dam to slide into the weekend rotation. State brought in a talented group of young arms as well, so their options are open with some time before the season starts. While the loss of Willadsen is a major setback, the depth of the pitching staff still remains a strength for Head Coach Elliot Avent's team.

From all of us at Fifth Quarter ACC/College Baseball Central, here's to hoping Matt has a speedy recovery and gets back on the mound soon.


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