As is true across several sports, U.S. national teams have North Carolina fingerprints all over them — and this year’s collegiate national baseball team is no exception.
This summer, USA Baseball’s lineup features Patrick Bailey from N.C. State and Alec Burleson from East Carolina. These two, as evidenced by being on the roster, are among the top non-draft-eligible college players in America.
This week, USA Baseball will travel around North Carolina to play against Cuba in a friendly series. The first game is Tuesday in Hickory at LP Frans Stadium, followed by a game in Charlotte on Wednesday at BB&T Ballpark. The teams will then play at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Thursday, at the National Training Complex in Cary on Friday and again at the DBAP on Saturday.
Here’s what you need to know.
Patrick Bailey, NC State
Junior Patrick Bailey started 60 of 61 games behind home plate in his sophomore season, compiling a .288 batting average, 68 hits and 10 home runs.
The 6-2, 192-pound catcher from Greensboro earned first-team All-ACC honors and was a third team All-American selection last season. Before that, as a freshman, Bailey was named the ACC’s Freshman of the Year and an American Baseball Coaches Association’s All-Region selection.
This is not the first time Bailey has played on the international stage. In the fall of 2016, he was a member of USA Baseball’s 18U team, starting four games and playing in six.
In five recorded matches this summer — four of which being intrasquad matchups — Bailey is 3-for-12 with three strikeouts.
Alec Burleson, ECU
Alec Burleson started 63 of 64 games in his sophomore season and earned the reputation as one of the best two-way players in the country, as he split time in the field between first base and pitcher.
Burleson hit .370 last year, and ended with 91 hits, 61 RBIs and nine home runs. On the rubber, the 6-4, 215-pound player from Denver, N.C. dealt a 3.28 earned run average on 60.1 innings pitched.
This summer is Burleson’s first experience with Team USA. Through his team’s five games, the lefty has allowed one hit, one walk and no earned runs in two innings pitched. Behind the plate, he’s 1-for-9.
Want to go?
When: 7 p.m., Tuesday
Where: LP Frans Stadium, Hickory
Tickets: Start at $5. Get them here.
When: 7:05 p.m., Wednesday
Where: BB&T Ballpark, Charlotte
Tickets: Start at $9. Get them here.
When: Thursday at 6:05 p.m.; Saturday at 6:05 p.m.
Where: Durham Bulls Athletic Park, Durham
Tickets: Tickets for Thursday’s game, which includes fireworks, start at $15. Tickets for Saturday’s game start at $10. Get tickets here.
When: Friday, 6 p.m.
Where: National Training Complex, Cary
Tickets: Start at $10 and can be purchased at the gate.