Baseball Lookin' Good, Comparatively Speaking
Spring 2003: the football team is basking in the afterglow of its landmark Gator Bowl victory, the basketball team is moving slowly toward another NCAA tournament appearance, and the baseball team is putting together its finest season in years. And I'm probably sitting in some windowless, freezing classroom in Harrelson. Good times. *single tear*
That baseball team, as you may recall, won an NCAA regional (I was there!), the only one of Elliott Avent's teams to do so. (They'd go on to lose the Super Regional in the excruciating style that seems to define NC State athletics, but I won't get into that.)
Anyway, what I've been wondering is: how does the 2008 baseball team stack up with that one? Pretty well, actually.
G RS RA Diff ExpW-L ActW-L OneRunGms SOS
2003 63 433 330 103 40-23 45-18 12-3 86
2008 48 321 190 131 36-12 33-15 6-6 65
As with most aspects of baseball analysis, this issue isn't a clear cut one, but it's generally agreed that for the most part, a team's record in one-run games is random. While it is true that certain traits can make some teams more adept at winning one-run games than others, the bottom line is that you need a lot of luck in order to achieve a good record in such games.
It looks as though the 2003 Wolfpack were a bit lucky in close games, which helps explain why they outpaced their expected win-loss record by five wins. This year's team has a more typical record in one-run games.
The most important thing here, though, is run differential. The '08 Wolfpack has the better differential--and has managed it against a tougher schedule--which points to a stronger overall performance thus far.