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The Weekend Warriors of NC State Strike Again!

(Photo via @NCStateBaseball on X)

There's handling adversity, there's overcoming obstacles, and then there's the injury-laden run that NC State baseball continues to put together down the stretch. Another Top 10 opponent stood in the way of the Wolfpack this weekend- with one of the most explosive offenses in the country in the Virginia Cavaliers. Bombs were dropped, missiles were launched, fire was met with fire, and it was the NC State Wolfpack that emerged victorious yet again.

Tumultuous would certainly be a word to describe the ups and downs of NC State's roster at this point of the season. But now, after defeating #10 Virginia on the road, it's reached a near inconceivable level of reality. This team is repeatedly taking down the top teams in the ACC. Seriously, just consider what they've dealt with so far:

  • Lost their Saturday Starter before the season began (Matt Willadsen)

  • Lost a starting outfielder for the remainder of the season (Josh Hogue)

  • Lost their top middle relief pitcher for the remainder of the season (Shane Van Dam)

  • Starting outfielder Noah Soles missed over a month (injury)

  • Freshman C/DH Alex Sosa missed over a month (Mono AND THEN the Flu)

...and yet here they stand, with ACC series wins over Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, and Virginia, all ranked inside the Top 15. Are you kidding me? That's resilience.

In the absence of these five main fixtures, a handful of others have bolstered themselves into the spotlight to carry major water for the team. In the midseason report card, I told you that Garrett Pennington and Alec Makarewicz had been doing some major backpacking. That's still true. But since then, Jacob Cozart went on a 9-game HR spree. Sophomore reserve second baseman Matt Heavner has catapulted his average up to (.296). Freshman Cooper Consiglio has logged 14.2 Innings in relief on the road at Clemson, Florida State and Virginia, only surrendering 3 earned runs. Sophomore Derrick Smith has emerged as the second back-end Bullpen guy alongside Jacob Dudan. The Wolfpack are starting to feel like the Hydra syndicate from the Marvel comics. You cut off one head, and two more shall take its place.

Resume-wise, NC State should feel pretty good about holding a 2 Seed in the NCAA Tournament at the end of this month. But why stop there? Boosting their RPI up to 20 now and then winning next weekend's showdown with Wake Forest may actually give them enough leverage to earn a spot as a Regional Host. It's no time to be counting chickens just yet, because Wake Forest just absolutely dominated Clemson this weekend. But one more ACC series win? Against another Top 15 opponent? All bets are off. The act of playing "Winning Baseball" is contagious, and NC State Baseball appears to be down with the sickness.

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