Photo Credit: Charlotte Athletics
It’s finally here.
With the conclusion of the Super Bowl this past Sunday, baseball takes center stage in the Queen City. Charlotte will have no easy opening weekend as they welcome a prominent Ball State team into the Hayes for a four-game tilt (Friday, doubleheader on Saturday, and the finale on Sunday). They’ll square up with reigning MAC conference champions who won 40 games a year ago. The Cardinals will have to go without some of their biggest pieces who led the way last season as both their batting average and home runs leaders have departed to graduation and Major League Baseball. Stepping up will likely be Hunter Dobbins, Adam Tellier and Ryan Peltier, who all hit over .300 last year. A name to look out for on the bump is pre-season All-American Sam Klein who will likely come out of the pen in save situations. D1 Baseball projects Ball State as a Regional team and winning the MAC again.
Charlotte shapes up to have everything they need to counter the MAC powerhouse as they are projected to be a Regional team via D1 Baseball and an “Omaha sleeper” in Robert Woodard’s 3rd full season at the helm of the Niners. Charlotte’s lineup from top to bottom can swing it. They’ll return the likes of Jack Dragum, Austin Knight, Jake Cunningham, and of course Cam Fisher, all of which selected All-Conference USA.
Last year the arms seemingly couldn’t keep up with the bats (injuries plagued the staff). This year a 21st ranked transfer class should help bolster the talent, and equally as important, the depth that Woodard and Michael Oh (Pitching Coordinator) have at their disposal. The transfer class is headlined by two RHP SEC transfers, Friday starter Wyatt Hudepohl (Kentucky) and Donye Evans (Vanderbilt) who is slated to start game 2.
Ball State shapes up to be a great measuring stick for Charlotte and could tell us just how far this team could go. With predictions to win the conference and postseason regional hopes on the line, all the talk will silence when toe meets rubber on the 17th at 4pm at The Hayes.