#1 North Carolina vs #3 Towson, 6 PM, ESPN3
After getting past Canisius on a less than stellar effort, the Tar Heels turn their attention to the Chapel Hill region's #3 seed in the form of Towson. The Tigers' baseball program was on the verge of being eliminated earlier this year but recently given a reprieve. Towson finished the regular season fourth in the Colonial Athletic Conference but strung together the needed wins to take the conference tournament and earn an automatic bid. Not satisfied with just being in the NCAA Tournament, Towson surprised a solid Florida Atlantic team on Friday winning 7-2.
UNC will send ace Kent Emanuel to the mound in what is the most important game of the series. After a couple of rough outings at Georgia Tech and versus Virginia, Emanuel was spot on against Miami in the ACC Tournament. On paper, Towson will provide a test. The Tigers are tied for 12th nationally in total home runs and home runs per game. This is a team that has power and showed it on Friday with a pair of home runs against Florida Atlantic.
Towson will counter with Brandon Gonella who sports a 4-4 mark with a 5.22 ERA. As good as Towson is in hitting the long ball, they also surrender them at an alarming rate. Opposing teams hit 44 home runs against Towson and batted .309 on the season. Regardless of what Emanuel does, this is a team and pitcher UNC should be able to score on early and often.
Given the factors at play, UNC is in a great position to move into the proverbial cat-bird seat at 2-0 in the regional. Doing so means needing only one more win to advance to the super regional. Losing requires a team to win three straight games and going deep into the pitching rotation to do it. While Friday's game was a bit of a rough outing, the Heels should bounce back for a better effort in this one.