Tough Tests Await No. 1 Heels In Houston
Tar Heels To Face Tough Tests In Houston
• No. 1 North Carolina heads to Houston, Texas for the Astros Foundation College Classic with matchups against a pair of NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago in No. 12 Rice and No. 30 Texas A&M. The Tar Heels will also face Cal, the pair were at the 2011 CWS.
Best Start Since 2007
• The Tar Heels are off to their best start since 2007 as they enter the weekend 7-0.
• Carolina started the 2007 season with 10 straight victories before suffering a defeat.
• The best start to a season in school history came in head coach Mike Fox’s second season (2000) when the Tar Heels opened with 21 straight wins.
Early Season Success
• Carolina has racked up the wins early in the season throughout the years and especially under head coach Mike Fox.
• Since Fox took over prior to the 1999 season the Tar Heels are 107-14 before March 1.
• The Tar Heels have posted a 179-35 (.836 winning percentage) record against non-conference foes before the opening ACC series of the year during Fox’s tenure.
North Carolina-Rice Series History
• Friday’s meeting will be the sixth all-time between the two baseball powers and the first since the three meetings in the 2007 College World Series.
• Carolina holds a 3-2 series advantage over the Owls with a regular season win in 2000 and a pair of wins in the 2007 CWS.
• The Tar Heels dropped the second game of the 2007 CWS to Rice, 14-4, before beating the Owls, 6-1 and 7-4, to advance to the CWS Finals.
North Carolina-California Series History
• Saturday’s meeting will be the eighth between the Tar Heels and the Golden Bears and the first since the 2010 NCAA Norman Regional.
• Carolina holds a 4-3 advantage in the series that began in 2002.
• The Tar Heels hosted California in a three-game set in 2002 and 2004 with Cal claiming the 2002 series, 2-1, and UNC taking the 2004 series, 2-1.
• UNC claimed the opener of the 2010 NCAA Norman Regional by a 12-3 margin over the Golden Bears.
North Caroina-Texas A&M Series History
• Sunday’s meeting will be the third between the Tar Heels and Aggies with both meetings coming in the NCAA Tournament.
• The Aggies claimed both meetings with a 14-2 win in the 1993 NCAA Central I Regional in College Station, Texas and a 7-0 win in the 1995 Atlantic II Regional in Coral Gables, Fla.
Bolt Off To Hot Start
• Freshman outfielder Skye Bolt entered Carolina as one of the top prospects in the country and the Woodstock, Ga., native has lived up to the reputation through the opening weeks.
• Bolt is leading the Tar Heels with the bat so far with a .538/.731/.606 slash line through the first seven games. Bolt also leads the ACC in batting average with his .538 clip.
• The freshman outfielder owns a team-high 5 doubles, including three in the come from behind win over Stony Brook on Sunday.
• Bolt has also driven in eight runs so far, which is tied for the second on the team with Colin Moran.
Even Distribution Throughout The Lineup
• Nine different Tar Heels have tallied at least three RBIs this season and five have six or more through the opening seven games of the year.
• There have also been eight Tar Heels with at least five runs scored through seven games.
• Junior Colin Moran is tied for second on the team with eight RBIs but has been getting on base and leads the team with 13 runs scored.
Emanuel Continues Dominance
• Junior left-hander Kent Emanuel did something no other Tar Heel had ever done in the opener against Seton Hall when he became the first pitcher in UNC history to throw a shutout in the season opener.
• Emanuel held Seton Hall in check all night long as he surrendered just four singles and struck out five batters over his nine innings of work.
• The Pirates managed just one runner past second base in the contest as Emanuel recorded his second career shutout.
• The shutout was the first thrown by a Carolina pitcher since Emanuel closed the door on Texas in the 2011 College World Series.
• Emanuel continued his dominance with a seven inning two-run performance against Stony Brook to improve to 2-0.
• Emanuel lowered his career ERA to 2.03, the fifth-lowest mark in school history.
• The Woodstock, Ga., native eclipsed the 200 strikeout mark for his career against Stony Brook when he struck out eight.
Moran Set To Anchor Offensive Revival
• Junior Colin Moran earned preseason first team All-America honors from Baseball America prior to the 2013 season and is expected to be the cornerstone of the Tar Heel offense.
• Carolina hit .276 as a team a year ago and will expect to make strides with six regulars from the lineup returning for 2013.
• Carolina will also lean on a pair of freshmen, who have appeared in all six games this season, in Landon Lassiter and Skye Bolt.
• UNC is hitting .332 through the first two and a half weeks of play, ranking second in the ACC.
• The Tar Heels have five regulars with averages above .300 entering the weekend after finishing 2012 with just one above the .300 line.
• Carolina has three regulars who own an OPS above .900 with Skye Bolt leading the way at 1.337. Fellow freshman checks in at 1.066 and leadoff man Chaz Frank has posted a .912 OPS so far.
• Carolina is one of a few schools in the country that returns its entire weekend rotation that closed out the 2012 season.
• The Tar Heel trio of junior Kent Emanuel (8-4), sophomore Benton Moss (7-2) and junior Hobbs Johnson (7-1) combined for 22 wins a year ago.
• The 22 returning wins are tied for the second most returning in the country with Louisville. Florida State returns 25 but sophomore Mike Compton is set to miss the 2013 season due to injury after winning 12 games in 2012.
Most Starting Rotation Wins Returning in 2013
1. Florida State 25
T2. North Carolina 22
T2. Louisville 22
T4. Cal State Bakersfield 20
T4. Georgia Tech 20
T4. Saint Louis 20
(courtesy of Saint Louis University)
Johnson Probable To Return
• One of the returning rotation members missed his scheduled start this past weekend as a precaution.
• Junior left-hander Hobbs Johnson left his start against Coastal Carolina after four and a third innings of work due to forearm tightness.
• Johnson had been battling occasional tightness in the preseason but is expected to miss only one or two starts as a result.
• Johnson is available to return to action for the Tar Heels at the Astros Foundation College Classic this weekend.
Tar Heels Boast A Deep Pitching Staff
• North Carolina lost just two pitcher starts from 2012 as the team returns 60 of their 62 starts from last year.
• A remarkable 97 percent of pitcher starts return for the 2013 season.
• In addition to the starting rotation of Emanuel, Moss and Johnson, senior Chris Munnelly made 10 starts in 2012.
• The Tar Heel pitching staff displayed their dominance in the opening weekend by surrendering just three runs on the weekend.
• The Tar Heel starters have gone 41.1 innings this season and allowed nine runs but just five earned runs an ERA of 1.09.