Where: T.D. Ameritrade Park, Omaha, NE
When: Monday, July 20th, 2:00 PM
Records: UNC 50-15; Texas 49-18
CWS Results: UNC lost to Vandy 7-3; Texas lost to FL 8-4
After leaving 16 runners on base versus Vanderbilt, the Diamond Heels will hope to find some clutch hitting to avoid being the first team sent home from the 2011 College World Series. In the four previous appearances under Mike Fox, UNC has won at least one game in Omaha. In 2009 the Heels lost the opener to Arizona St. then came back to beat Clemson before losing to the Sun Devils again to end the season.
Mike Fox will send freshman Kent Emanuel(8-1, 2.55 ERA) out to stave off the end of the season and gives the Heels a shot at rallying from the loser's bracket. UNC has not been put in a position to face real pressure so far this postseason. The regional and super regionals were relatively "easy" with the only real test coming in the late stages of the second game versus Stanford. In this one it is win or go home.
Emanuel has been very good over the past two months and this Texas team is not an offensive powerhouse. Actually that is putting it mildly. The Longhorns team batting average as a team is 207th nationally. Texas is 84th in runs scored. This lack of general offensive efficiency is more than made up for by the 2nd ranked team ERA in the country. For Emanuel it will be about keeping Texas true to its offensive averages and bank on the Tar Heel bats waking up with runners on base. Colin Moran, Chaz Frank and Ben Bunting did their part on Saturday each having at least two hits. Levi Michael, Jesse Wierzbicki, Tommy Coyle and Jacob Stallings were a combined 2-17. Better production from at least two of these guys(Michael and Stallings in particular) is a must.
Conventional wisdom says this will be a low scoring, battle of pitchers which can only means the bats will be alive just to prove us all wrong.