Yep, those jackasses from the west come to town this weekend for a pivotal three game conference series at Doak Field.Â I’m gonna try my best to be unbiased with this preview and not get overly “hateful”, but no promises.Â There are few things in life I dislike more than that hallowed (or is it “hollow”?) institution.Â So with that caveat, please forgive me if I begin to wax sarcastic.
Still though, love them or hate them, one cannot deny that they’re damn good (which frankly pisses me off even more).Â Ranked #1 in every national poll and with an NCAA RPI to match, the heels have lost only 3 games all year (40-3, 17-2 ACC).Â I mean seriously…think about that for just a second.Â Really think about it.
But of late, State (33-10, 14-7 ACC) has been just as hot and one could argue that since Trea Turner’s return from injury that the Pack has matched them.Â Riding a 15 game win streak currently, and winners of 17 of 18 since Turner’s return, Wolfpack Baseball has won in just about every way imaginable and has clawed it’s way back to the top of the ACC’s Atlantic Division, as well as the top echelon of the national rankings.
Thus this weekend’s meeting with Carolina in Raleigh will be what it was expected to be in the pre-season.Â A showdown between two top ten ranked teams and the top two teams in the conference (That’s no slight to UVa…they just happen to be parked in 2nd place at the moment.Â Hopefully we can help them out with that a bit this weekend and return the favor for them taking FSU down last weekend).
Elsewhere in the ACC’s Atlantic Division, FSU and Clemson are now tied for 2nd place, both 13-8 and a game behind the Pack.Â They both return home this weekend, with FSU hosting Wake (7-14, 4th Atlantic, 7gb) for 3 in Tallahassee and Clemson hosting GT for 3.
Maryland (6-15, 5th Atlantic, 8gb) hits the road @Duke, while BC (0 for forever) is home against Miami.
OK, I guess we’ve avoided it long enough.Â As annoyingly irksome as it’s going to be, I guess we have to look at Carolina’s numbers….
40-3 (17-2 ACC, 1st ACC Coastal, Rank #1, RPI #1)
2012: 44-14 (22-8, 1st ACC Coastal, Lost in NCAA Regionals – The only national seed to do so)
So yeah, they’re good.Â With a number one ranking you really don’t need me to tell you that I suppose, so let’s just get to their numbers and get this over with.
At The Plate
As a team, Carolina bats .316 (1st ACC, 6th NCAA).Â They also lead the conference in just about every other offensive category, including HRs (38, t1st w/GT), RBIs (336), runs scored (384), onbase% (.426) and slgpct (.474).Â They’re also best in the league at drawing walks (248) and avoiding strikeouts (189).
Bottom line….they score nearly 9 times per game (8.93), which is far and away tops in the ACC and nationally.
In a batting order with significant offensive punch top to bottom, Colin Moran (#18, Jr, 3B) is without a doubt the biggest stick in their lineup.Â Moran leads the heels in avg. (.395), HRs (10), RBIs (67), runs scored (58) and total hits (66).Â He also leads the team in onbase% (.514), walks (39), and almost never strikes out having gone down on strikes only 8 times all year (team best).
Then again, though he leads the team in total bases (106), he’s ONLY second on the team in slgpct (.635) and rarely steals bases with only one on the year (sheeesh…what a loser).
Cody Stubbs (#25, Sr, 1B) leads the team with 17 doubles.Â He’s also 2nd on the team in RBIs (57) and total bases (101), and 3rd in avg (.376), HRs (6) and slgpct (.612).
The heels also get the most out of Brian Holberton (#10, Jr, C/OF) (.345BA, 8HR, 34RBI, 39R); and Landon Lassiter (#12, Frosh, SS/2B) (.328, 1HR, 16RBI, 53R) as well.
Even guys like Chaz Frank (#2, Sr, OF)(.298, 1HR, 25RBI, 38R), Mike Zolk (#3, Soph, 2B)(.291, 2HR, 23RBI, 23R) and Michael Russell (#5, Soph, Inf/OF)(.274, 1HR, 19RBI, 38R) have more than enough timely pop and have a way of doing damage at the wrong times.Â Frank (14/16) and Russell (16/17) are also the heels’ biggest threats to swipe a bag, making them even more troublesome when they get aboard.
The heels will be without freshman phenom and all-name team candidate Skye Bolt (#20, Fr, OF), who was lost indefinitely when he fouled a pitch off of his foot, fracturing it, vs VT two weeks ago.Â Skye (or is it “Mr. Bolt”?) was batting .392, had 6 HRs and led the team in slgpct (.648) when he was lost.Â And while I want to be clear that I’m not advocating making fun of an injury (seriously), I can’t help but mention him here because…well…SKYE BOLT.
Plus he went to HS at a place called “Holy Innocents” in Woodstock, GA, so you know he fits right in over in Chapel Hill (Sorry Skye…it’s nothing personal).
In The Field
Now one would think after going thru the offensive numbers above that their pitching would provide a bit of a “back to reality” moment for the heels.Â Well, think again.Â You don’t win 40 of 43 games without a boatload of pitching.
The Carolina staff leads the ACC in ERA (2.27, #3 NCAA), against average (.201), hits allowed (283) and total runs allowed (117).Â They’re also second in the league in HRs allowed (12, FSU 1st w/10) and 3rd in strike outs (348, NCSU 1st w/378).
If there is a bright spot (and it’s not very bright so don’t get overly excited), they are middle of the pack in walks allowed (142, #6 ACC).Â Despite this fact however, they’re still tops in the ACC (and #7 in the country) in WHIP at 1.09.Â Like I said, not much of a bright spot.
Bottom line (again)….they give up only 2.71 runs per game.Â Again, that’s tops in the ACC.Â And again, it’s not even close.Â For fun, go back and look again at their per game scoring avg. and compare it to this (Hint: they win games by an AVERAGE of more than six runs per game).
The three starters the Pack is scheduled to face this weekend:
Kent Emanuel (#41, Jr, LHP) – 8-1, 1.82 ERA, 79.1 IP, 3 HRs, .211 against avg, 58 Ks, 14 BBs
Benton Moss (#39, Soph, RHP) – 7-0, 2.81 ERA, 57.2 IP, 4 HRs, .207 against avg, 67 Ks, 23 BBs
Hobbs Johnson (#29, Jr, LHP) – 2-0, 2.45 ERA, 44.0 IP, 0 Hrs, .224 against avg, 36 Ks, 25 BBs
Defensively, Carolina is only the third best team in the conference.Â But don’t get too happy about that either because at .974, their fldpct is only 1/1000th of a point worse than co-leaders GT and UMd (.975).
UNC Baseball Home (GoHeels.com)
We asked three coaches who have faced both teams to break down the matchup. We blended their responses below, with different speakers set off by new sets of quotation marks. In a few cases, the coaches had differing opinions, but one thing they agreed upon is that both UNC and N.C. State are legitimate Omaha-caliber clubs.
â€œI donâ€™t think Carolina will sweep them. I think theyâ€™ll win the series, but I think N.C. State gets a game.â€
â€œOverall I think itâ€™s a pretty solid matchup. I just think Carolina has better players overall. If I were going to give a nod, Iâ€™d give the nod to them. Turner is good though, he might be best position player on both teams. I donâ€™t know, Moran can change a game with one swing, but Turner can dominate a game with his bat and his speed. Theyâ€™re both pretty damn good players, just different types of players.”
â€œI wouldnâ€™t be surprised to see N.C. State beat them because theyâ€™re at home, but if i was betting, Iâ€™d bet on N.C.â€
2013 NCAA Regional Projections (April 23rd) (CollegeBaseballDaily.com)
1.Â North Carolina State
3. Western Kentucky
Games Schedule – Pitching Probables
- 4/26 Friday 6:30pm – Ryan Wilkins vs Kent Emanuel
- 4/27 Saturday 6:30pm – Carlos Rodon vs Benton Moss
- 4/28 Sunday 7pm – Brad Stone vs Hobbs Johnson
***This weekend’s games will be streamed live over ESPN3, with Sunday’s game actually being on REAL TV.Â Well, real for regular season college baseball at least.Â ESPNU, Sunday night, 7pm***
|(As Of April 25)|
Elsewhere in the ACC this weekend:
- Maryland @ Duke
- Georgia Tech @ Clemson
- Miami @ Boston College
- Virginia @ Virginia Tech
- Wake Forest @ Florida State
Season Turner-Round (Yeah, I know it’s corny…shut up)
As mentioned earlier, the Pack has won 17 of 18 games since Trea Turner’s return from injury.Â A sampling of Turner’s stats where he’s at or near the top of the heap….
- Batting avg. – .438 (1st ACC, 2nd NCAA)
- Runs/game – 1.45 (1st ACC, 1st NCAA)
- Hits/game – 1.70 (1st ACC)
- SlgPct – .688 (1st ACC, 16th NCAA)
- OnBase% – .513 (2nd ACC, 10th NCAA)
Some other stats:
- Carlos Rodon leads the nation in total strikeouts (95) and strikeouts per 9 innings (14.17).
- Bryan Adametz is rated the 22nd toughest player to strike out in the nation, going down on strikes only once every 16.9 ABs.
- Tarran Senay rates 33rd in the nation with 1.07 RBIs per game.
Fun Stuff…ie Carolina Sucks
Let us not forget that no matter how good they might be, Carolina always sucks.Â A reminder of some of the recent U*NC contributions to society….
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t bring up the topic of “asterisks”…
If you have any other good pics or other anti-Carolina propaganda, feel free to point to it’s direction in the comments section.Â After all, one can never get enough “Carolina Sucks”.
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