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Can Elliott Avent Finally Catch that Elusive ACC Title?

For better or worse, NC State Baseball always seems to leave a mark on someone when the postseason rolls around. While I can't speak to the early years of Elliott Avent on account of being 2 years old, the recent history of the program is indicative of one that considers mundane simply unacceptable. Whether it’s winning or losing, it’s doing it big. The Pack has a home season finale to play against Wake Forest, and then it's time to board this roller coaster once again.


Avent has never won an ACC Championship, a statistic that doesn’t really compute from a probability perspective when you consider how random baseball is and how many teams Avent has coached that could realistically do so. Now in year 28, he has one once again. The legendary coach has put together one of his best coaching jobs by maneuvering this group through the requisite bullpen question marks and the obstinance of a particularly committed injury bug. 


This State team is 6-2-1 in ACC series. It has reached the regular season finale with a 4-0-1 record in series against teams ranked in the top 15. That’s insane. I’m not sure that is being appropriately digested by everyone. The Pack is 9-7 against the top 15 and has won four different series 2-1. It has beaten the top of the national landscape consistently. This is truly one of Avent’s better teams. 


State has played one of the toughest schedules in America. Once it wraps up this weekend’s Wake Forest series, the Pack will have played 19 of 51 games against the top 15, more than a third of the whole season. This group is the definition of battle tested, and it’s started to fill itself out more down the stretch, which may position it very well to finally, after all these years, get Avent that hardware. 


The Pack has added Noah Soles back to the lineup and it’s starting to get hits from guys not named Pennington or Makarewicz. Brandon Butterworth just had his best series of the year in Charlottesville, where he recorded 5 hits in 12 ABs and went yard twice. Jacob Cozart now has a hit in every game but one over the last month and he’s up to 15 homers on the year after reaching late April with just 6. The lineup may be peaking at the right time. 


With three games left, State is still very much alive for the chance to host a regional and could still technically win the Atlantic Division. But all of that feels ancillary to the point, which is that this team can truly beat anyone. No matter how the seeding plays out, you’ve got a group here that gives you a chance anywhere against anyone, and in the postseason of a high volatility sport, that’s the best you can ask for. 


Women’s basketball got three. Kevin Keatts blew the doors open with his own ACC Title. It’s flowing now. It’s time to get what belongs to you, Elliot. The cosmic space being with its celestial thumb on the scale has finally been put out to pasture. It’s time, and Avent definitely has a team that can do it.


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