RALEIGH, NC — North Carolina State freshman first baseman Tommy White is making a terrific first impression for the Wolfpack. The St. Pete Beach- native hit three home runs in his collegiate debut, and he has five in his first five games. White has 15 RBIs and a .619 batting average to go along with his homers.
"I think my first college swing was a home run," Tommy said before Thursday's practice. "It was a very, very special experience for me. I can’t put it into words. It was awesome."
White, a graduate of IMG Academy, was one of the top high school prospects in the country. He thought about entering the Major League Baseball draft, but he wasn't certain he would be picked as high as he thought. He chose NC State- where he'll have to play at least three years- because they were the first program to choose him.
"I told my dad, when I was a freshman in high school, I want to go to the first D-1 program that has a chance in Omaha and wants me for who I am as a player," White said. "[The coaching staff] doesn't want me to change anything. And NC State liked me for me."
Wolpack head coach Elliott Avent can't help but smile ear-to-ear when talking about his emerging talent at first base.
"Such a refreshing, old-school, loves-to-play-baseball player. That is just refreshing He’s that old-school guy," Avent said via video chat. "The thing about Tommie… he just likes to win. It ain’t about Tommy White. It’s not the 'Tommy White Show.' It’s not about how he does. He wants his team to beat your team on that given day."
White said he doesn't feel any added pressure to sustain his high power output.
"When I’m in the game, I really just focus on the game. The pressure is that I want to have my team win every chance I can. I’m just looking forward. I’m just trying to help the team any way I can."
The ninth-ranked Wolfpack is hitting .425, and the pitching staff has held opponents to a .181 average. So White won't need to carry the load by himself.
"Everybody’s hot right now. We’re all seeing it really well. We’re just trying to take it day-by-day and not really focus on the stats we’re putting up."
NC State (5-0) hosts Quinnipiac (1-2) for a three-game series starting Friday and running through Sunday.