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Tennessee Baseball College World Series Preview: A Quick Look At North Carolina

Photo via North Carolina Baseball on X (Twitter)/ @DiamondHeels

After pulling off a come from behind victory over Florida State on Friday night, Tennessee baseball now turns its attention to North Carolina who they’ll face in a critical matchup on Sunday night.

The winner stays in the winner’s bracket and will need to win just one of its next two games to advance to the College World Series final while the loser will have to win three straight games in three days to keep its season alive.

Here’s a look at the Tar Heels ahead of the critical College World Series matchup.

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How The Tar Heels Got Here

North Carolina enters the matchup against Tennessee with a 48-14 (22-8 ACC) record. The strong regular season earned the Tar Heels the No. 4 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The Tar Heels survived an abundance of drama in the Chapel Hill Regional, scoring a run in the ninth inning of the regional final against LSU before earning a 4-3 win in 10 innings.

After a thrilling regional victory, North Carolina needed no drama to sweep West Virginia in two games in the Chapel Hill Super Regional a week later to advance to the College World Series.

Much like Tennessee, the Tar Heels used some ninth inning magic to knock off Virginia in their College World Series opener on Friday afternoon. Star Vance Honeycutt came through clutch with a walk-off single to secure a 3-2 win.

Team Hitting Stats

Runs: 532 (11th nationally)

Batting average: .304 (31st nationally)

Home runs: 113 (16th nationally)

Doubles: 110 (87th nationally)

Walks: 355 (12th nationally)

Bats To Know

LF Casey Cook — .345/.437/.614, 18 HR, 30 EBH, 77 RBI, 36 BB, 53 K

CF Vance Honeycutt — .312/.405/.692, 26 HR, 45 EBH, 66 RBI, 35 BB, 80 K, 28 SB

1B Parks Harber — .342/.426/.658, 20 HR, 30 EBH, 63 RBI, 35 BB, 35 K

RF Anthony Donofrio — .332/.440/.559, 7 HR, 32 EBH, 53 RBI, 44 BB, 44 K, 19 SB

C Luke Stevenson — .287/.421/.545, 14 HR, 24 EBH, 58 RBI, 46 BB, 54 K

Team Pitching Stats

Earned Run Average: 4.22 (15th nationally)

WHIP: 1.40 (29th nationally)

Strikeouts Per 9 Innings: 8.8 (93rd nationally)

Who Pitched For North Carolina against Virginia?

Jason DeCaro — 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 6 K, 89 pitches

Matt Poston — 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 23 pitches

Dalton Pence — 3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 29 pitches

Potential Starting Pitcher

North Carolina has not announced its starting pitching plan at the time of publication. But the most likely option is junior left-handed pitcher Shea Sprague. The Elon transfer has been North Carolina’s game two starter for most of the season though he started game one of the super regional series against West Virginia.

Sprague has been good this season but has been a little dicey as of late. In his last five starters, the left-handed pitcher has allowed 14 earned runs in 24 innings pitched in his last five starts (5.25 ERA).

Sprague’s full season stats: 16 GP, 14 GS, 3-1, 4.00 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 74.1 IP, 64 K, 14 BB

Tar Heels Top Bullpen Arms

LHP Dalton Pence — 35 GP, 5-1, 8 S, 1.92 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 56.1 IP, 73 K, 27 BB

RHP Matthew Mattjis — 34 GP, 12-4, 3.65 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 56.2 IP, 55 K, 16 BB

RHP Connor Bovair — 22 GP, 1 GS, 3.71 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 26.2 IP, 26 K, 8 BB

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One Response

  1. What an awesome win for the Vols. I’m a huge fan for all UT sports! Same for my entire Tennessee family. GO VOLS!!

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