College Baseball In North Carolina (2024):

National Contenders, Quality Depth
Suggest “Golden Era” On Diamond

By David Glenn
North Carolina Sports Network

The state of North Carolina has shown for decades why, thanks mainly to UNC and Duke, it deserves to be considered the “center of the college basketball universe.”

While the state can’t make a similarly grand claim with college baseball — the one and only North Carolina-based team ever to win the College World Series (Wake Forest) did so way back in 1955 — there’s no doubt that its diamond depth and quality have been trending up in a shiny, sparkling manner.

In retrospect, the 2022-23 season may have started a “Golden Era” for college baseball in the Old North State. Eight of North Carolina’s 18 Division One baseball squads earned their way into the 64-team NCAA Baseball Championship, setting the state’s all-time record in that regard.

Campbell, Charlotte, Duke, East Carolina, NC State, UNC, UNC Wilmington and Wake Forest all played in the Big Bracket. Duke and Wake Forest both advanced to the Super Regionals, or college baseball’s version of the “Sweet 16,” and the Demon Deacons advanced to the College World Series in Omaha.

Historically, UNC, ECU and NC State are the three in-state teams that have made the NCAA Tournament most regularly. Wake Forest, Western Carolina and UNCW have been frequent participants, too.

This year, the state is on track for another massive postseason presence, with six teams currently positioned for an NCAA Baseball Championship at-large bid (if they fail to earn an automatic bid) and several more among the favorites in their respective conference tournaments.

In this week’s Baseball America Top 25, five of the top 13 teams are from North Carolina: #4 UNC, #7 Wake Forest, #9 NC State, #12 East Carolina and #13 Duke. In addition, UNC Wilmington, the first-place team in the Coastal Athletic Association, would be a virtual lock for a postseason bid.

School, Conference, Record, National Ranking

North Carolina, ACC, 39-11 (20-7), #4
Wake Forest, ACC, 36-16 (15-12), #7
NC State, ACC, 29-19 (14-12), #9
East Carolina, American, 37-13 (16-8), #12
Duke, ACC, 34-16 (15-12), #13

UNCW (35-17, 19-5) can assure itself of an NCAA bid by winning the Coastal Athletic Association Baseball Championship, which the Seahawks will host from May 22-26 at their on-campus facility, Brooks Field, where they are 22-9 this season.

Several other in-state teams also will be among the favorites at their league championship events later this month.

High Point (29-24, 15-6), which is seeking its first-ever trip to the NCAA Baseball Championship, is tied for first place in the Big South standings. UNC Greensboro (31-18, 15-6) is in second place in the Southern Conference standings. Appalachian State (30-17-1, 15-11-1) is in fourth place in the 14-team Sun Belt Conference.

The 2024 NCAA Baseball Championship will begin May 31 and run through the completion of the College World Series on June 23 or 24.