Patrick Johnson(12-1, 2.36 ERA) will start Game 1 vs Stanford's Mark Appel(6-6, 3.02 ERA) Johnson comes into this game having not given up a run in almost a month. Johnson's scoreless inning streak has reached 23. Over the past six weeks, Johnson is 6-0 with a 0.48 ERA, a span covering 37 innings. Another start along those lines gives UNC an excellent chance at going up 1-0 in this best-of-three series.
Kent Emanuel(7-1, 2.62 ERA) will take the mound on Saturday in Game 2 vs the Cardinal's Jordan Pries(6-5, 3.24 ERA) and if necessary the matchup in Game 3 will be Chris Munnelly(6-5, 4.11 ERA) vs Danny Sandbrink(4-1, 3.39 ERA)
All things considered, UNC's best shot is to wrap this up with Johnson and Emanuel on the mound. The Cardinal will be very tough as they proved last weekend in winning the Fullerton Regional. Part of UNC's success this weekend could hinge on SS Levi Michael snapping out the slump which plagued him in the regional round. Michael was taken 30th by the Minnesota Twins in the MLB Draft earlier in the week and one would hope he hits like a first round draft pick this weekend. Likewise, the Heels' RBI leader Colin Moran went 3-14 in the regional. Getting both of these guys going at the plate will be crucial.
One other note. UNC pitching coach Scott Forbes' father-in-law passed away suddenly on Tuesday. The visitation and funeral are planned for Friday and Saturday. It is not know whether he will be available this weekend or not. Needless to say it has been a rough week for members of the UNC baseball coaching staff. Head coach Mike Fox lost his mother on Saturday and missed the regional completely.
Thoughts and prayers with Amanda Forbes' family.