Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports
The Tar Heel baseball team is receiving a lot of love in the preseason rankings with two publications tapping UNC as the #1 team in their polls. Perfect Game ranks the Heels #1 as does Baseball America which has a recurring theme when talking about UNC: Depth.
With one of the nation's deepest rosters, North Carolina is insured against injury and underperformance. This group is hungry to put last year's stunning home regional loss to St. John's behind it, and return to Omaha for the sixth time in the last eight years.
As noted by Baseball America, UNC returns the full weekend rotation anchored by Kent Emanuel. All three starters had ERAs below 2.00 last season giving the Heels strong pitching upfront. The bullpen is deep(the way Mike Fox likes it natch) with the only question being who will fill the setup and closer roles vacated by R.C. Orlan and Michael Morin.
While UNC is not a power team, the lineup includes a lot of good hitters led by 3B Colin Moran who will be looking to set himself up for the MLB Draft in what will likely be his final season in Chapel Hill. UNC is going to win a lot of games with its pitching. The offense simply needs to be good enough and the Heels have the lineup to do just that.
In addition to the national rankings, the ACC coaches have voted UNC as the favorite to win the Coastal Division. Also of note is NC State, which is ranked in the preseason top ten and picked to win the Atlantic Division. UNC and NC State staged an epic 13-inning affair in Greensboro at the ACC Tournament last spring. When these two meet on April 26-28 in Raleigh.