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NC State players preview Kentucky ahead of Saturday matchup

IMG_8756by:Daniel Hager06/14/24

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NC State players and head coach Elliott Avent took the stage at the 2024 Men’s College World Series introductory presser after Kentucky on Thursday and previewed the Cats, who they open play against on Saturday.

“Yeah, they’re a very talented team; very athletic, a ton of good players, a ton of good pitchers,” said NC State right-handed pitcher Sam Highfill. “You just have to play fundamental baseball. If they’re going to try and give you outs, then you have to be able to take them and not compound mistakes because that’s what those offenses live on. We just have to do our best to make the fundamental plays.”

Of the eight teams in the College World Series, Kentucky leads in both stolen bases (118) and sac bunts (42). The Cats have garnered a reputation as an aggressive team that attempts to make teams beat themselves.

“I would say going off that, I mean, we can’t really try to do too much,” said third baseman Alec Makarewicz. “Make the routine plays, and just go out there and play the game.”

Head coach Elliott Avent, who has been the head coach at NC State for 27 seasons, is heading into his third College World Series appearance at NC State. With a career record of 1,036-613 in Raleigh, he is the winningest coach in program history.

“You can’t prepare,” said Avent, who has seen A LOT of college baseball. “As I was listening to Sam and Alec answer those questions, if you have to prepare for what a team does right now, you’re not going to be ready. You prepare for that in the fall and January, February, and all year long. If you’re not prepared for the style of baseball that Kentucky plays now, you’re not going to get prepared this week. So I think we catch the baseball. I think we’re pretty good defensively. I think we hold runners pretty good. I think we’ve got some experience.”

“We may not be ready, but we’ll find out.”

Kentucky arrived in Omaha Wednesday afternoon, but won’t play its first game until Saturday at 1:00 p.m. CT/2:00 p.m. against NC State, who took down Georgia in the Athens Super Regional to clinch its fourth-ever College World Series appearance.

Follow KSR at the College World Series

KSR the show may not be headed to Omaha this weekend, but the website will be well-represented. KSR baseball beat writer Daniel Hager and videographer Steven Peake are in Omaha to capture all the action and excitement for Kentucky’s first College World Series appearance. They’ll be sharing all of their adventures on the site, social media, and special editions of “Bat Cat Beat” and Rapid Reactions on the KSR YouTube Channel, so make sure you’re following and subscribed to keep up with the Cats.

KSR’s trip to Omaha for the College World Series is presented by Summit Insurance Group, a veteran-owned, family-operated business. We want to introduce you to Steve Terrell, who is here to help and give you a tip.

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2024-07-13