RALEIGH: Wolfpack baseball has high hopes for 2014 season - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Wolfpack baseball has high hopes for 2014 season

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

N.C. State baseball has lofty goals for its 2014 season. Just ask pitcher Carlos Rodon and head coach Elliott Avent.

Rodon said the season will be considered a failure unless the Wolfpack returns to the College World Series in Omaha.

The Wolfpack stormed out of a slow start to only lose three games in April and May. The Wolfpack went undefeated in the Raleigh Regional and Super Regional before being eliminated from the College World Series by North Carolina, 7-0.

Avent knows he lost a lot of experience from last year's team that made it Omaha for the first time since 1968. The 2014 squad only has two seniors and includes 12 freshman but he said those returning are "really good."

Baseball America said Rodon is "a clear No. 1 prospect" for the 2014 draft. Infielder Trea Turner is considered the No. 4 prospect in the upcoming draft, according to Baseball America.

Freshman will be replacing seniors at first and third base for the Wolfpack.

Avent said Kyle Cavanaugh won the first base job just two days ago while Andrew Knizner was named third baseman halfway through Fall workouts. Avent expects Knizner to be a big part of the Wolfpack's success in 2014.

A freshman may start in outfield but Avent said that hasn't be decided.

"Biggest problem for us, other than the bullpen, is that we will have five new faces that have basically never played at N.C. State," Avent said.

In one of the toughest baseball conferences in the nation, N.C. State was picked to finished second in their division. A total of five teams in the top 17 are in the ACC, including No. 1 Virginia.

"It's a good league, no doubt about that," Avent said.

The Wolfpack currently sits at No. 8 in preseason polls, a similar position the 2013 Pack team was in last February.

A rough start saw N.C. State fall out of the top 20 by March. But the Pack turned things around and became an elite squad by the end of the season.

"We thought we should have won it last year," Avent said. "Getting there is going to be the difficult part.

"I don't like to predict things and this isn't a prediction but if we get there (Omaha), there could be a parade in Raleigh some time in July."

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