The college baseball season is approaching the one-month mark of the season, and a handful of local athletes are making impacts in important ways.
N.C. State has won its first 12 games, and the seventh-ranked Wolfpack will travel to No. 23 Virginia for a three-game series that is scheduled to include pitching outings from Reid Johnston (Rocky Mount Academy) and David Harrison (Rocky Mount High).
North Carolina is off to a 10-4 start that has freshman catcher and Rocky Mount Academy graduate Will Stewart seeing playing time. Elsewhere, UNC Wilmington pitcher and Landen Roupp (Faith Christian) is looking like the ace on the Seahawks (9-3) staff.
David Harrison, N.C. State
The left-handed pitcher out of Rocky Mount High is off to a sizzling start to the season.
Harrison has made three appearances and owns a 2-0 record in two starts. He has 19 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings with one walk, and his earned run average of 0.57 is the best on the team among any player with at least five innings pitched.
The former Gryphons standout, who was the Telegram’s pitcher of the year in 2016 and an all-state selection as a senior in 2017, could be geared for a breakout season as he follows a trend of steady improvement each year.
The junior is already about halfway to last season’s innings workload (33 2/3), and is on pace for a career high in strikeouts. As a sophomore Harrison struck out 33 batters. As a freshman, Harrison pitched 39 1/3 innings with 30 strikeouts over 14 appearances.
Harrison is scheduled to start on Sunday at Virginia.
Reid Johnston, N.C. State
A former Telegram batter of the year, the Rocky Mount Academy graduate is scheduled to start on Friday in the first of a three-game series at Virginia.
In three appearances and two starts, Johnston has a 3.48 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings. In his most recent outing, a Feb, 28 start against Iowa, Johnston struck out six in five innings and earned a no-decision.
The right-hander is coming off a sophomore season where he pitched a team-high 77 2/3 innings. He became the Wolfpack’s regular Friday starter midway through his freshman season.
Will Stewart, North Carolina
Another Rocky Mount Academy product, Stewart has played in 11 games with eight starts during the Tar Heels’ 10-4 start to the season.
Stewart, a catcher, has five hits in 27 at-bats and has scored four runs. His power has already shown up as he is one of five players on the team to hit a home run. He also has a triple to go with six RBI.
Behind the plate Stewart threw out his first runner in a March 1 win over Purdue.
Landen Roupp, UNC WilmingtonThe right-hander from Faith Christian is proving he’s too valuable to not start for the Seahawks.
Roupp split time between a starting role and the bullpen as a sophomore last season, where he earned a save, a win in relief, and a complete-game win. As a freshman, Roupp tied the program’s starts record with 15.
Now, he’s off to another hot start. Roupp has allowed just one earned run through a team-high 19 innings, good enough for a 0.47 ERA. He also has a team-high 23 strikeouts to go with 13 hits allowed and five walks.