Wolfpack Baseball Stars Rise Despite Shortened Season

Brett Friedlander

The 2020 college baseball season came to an abrupt and disappointing end on March 12 when the NCAA canceled all sports activites for the remainder of the academic year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But the abbreviated season wasn't a complete loss for some players, though.

NC State stars Patrick Bailey and Nick Swiney, in particular, made the most of their opportunities by earning spots among the ACC's Updated Top 10 Propects for the 2020 Draft, as chosen by D1Baseball.com.

Bailey is rated as the league's No. 1 pro prospect while Swiney, who was well on his way to becoming the Wolfpack's mound ace, jumped into the rankings at No. 9.

A junior catcher ranked as the No. 7 overall prospect in all of college baseball, Bailey was already considered a probable first round pick before the season began. He only strengthened that status with his performance in the 16 games State played.

The 6-foot-2, 202-pound junior from Greensboro bounced back from a slow start in which he managed only one hit in his first four games by going 15 of 43 the rest of the way (.349) with six homers -- including two grand slams -- and 20 RBI.

Swiney, a junior left-handed ranked No. 40 overall, caught the attention of the pro scouts with a breakout performance in his first season as a starter. 

He pitched seven shutout innings with 11 strikeouts in an opening day win against James Madison and earned national Pitcher of the Week honors by striking out 15 while allowing only one hit against Purdue in the Cambria College Classic in Minneapolis on Feb. 29 -- a game in which he retired the final 22 hitters he faced.

In four starts, Swiney was 4-0 with 1.29 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 28 innings.

Another State player that helped his draft stock, even though he didn't make it into D1Baseball.com's top 10 prospects, is outfielder/third baseman Devonte Brown.

Hitting cleanup during the shortened season, Brown hit .338 with five homers, six doubles, a triple and 19 RBI.

Coach Elliott Avent's Wolfpack was 14-3 and ranked No. 9 in the nation when the season was halted.