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Pitching Matchup Set For Tennessee Baseball’s College World Series Matchup Against North Carolina

Photo By Kate Luffman/ Tennessee Athletics

OMAHA, Neb. — The pitching matchups are officially set for Tennessee baseball’s College World Series Matchup against North Carolina on Sunday night.

Right-handed pitcher Drew Beam will get the ball for Tennessee while LHP Shea Sprague will start for North Carolina.

Neither starting pitching decision was a surprise. Beam has been the Vols’ Saturday starter all season and while Sprague’s role has changed somewhat, he’s settled in as the Tar Heels’ second starting pitcher.

Beam enters his second career College World Series start with an 8-2 record and 4.44 ERA on the season. But the right-handed pitcher has struggled so far in the postseason. In his last three starts dating back to the SEC Tournament, Beam has allowed 14 earned runs in 13 innings pitched (9.69 ERA).

What’s been peculiar about the starts is how affective Beam was early in the games before things got away from him in the middle innings. The junior took a no hitter into the fifth inning against Mississippi State before giving up five runs that inning. In both NCAA Tournament starts, Beam pitched well early in the game but things got away from him after Tennessee opened up early leads.

Tennessee needs a longer start for Beam against the Tar Heels after heavily taxing its bullpen in its 12-11 College World Series opening win over Florida State. Take a look at what the Vols’ bullpen situation looks like entering the North Carolina game here.

Sprague enters the College World Series with a 3-1 record, 4.00 ERA and 1.22 WHIP on the season. It’s been less severe than Beam, but the Elon transfer has also struggled over the last month. In his last five starts, Sprague’s allowed 14 earned runs in 24 innings pitched (5.25 ERA).

However, North Carolina’s entire bullpen will likely be available after the only two relievers the Tar Heels used in their opening win over Virginia threw less than 30 pitches.

First pitch between Tennessee and North Carolina at Charles Schwab Field is at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday night. ESPN2 is broadcasting the game.

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