#1 North Carolina(52-8) vs #4 Canisius(42-15), 6 PM, ESPN3
Another season, another NCAA Tournament regional in Chapel Hill. UNC opens NCAA Tournament play on Friday evening against the regional #4 seed Canisius. The Golden Griffins won the MAAC Championship last week to secure the automatic bid and reach their first ever NCAA Tournament in baseball.
Mike Fox will send regular Saturday starter Benton Moss to the mound against Canisius. Moss, winner of eight games this season, has struggled a bit in his two most recent outings. After going eight innings giving up only two hits at Georgia Tech, the sophomore surrendered four runs in 5.2 IP against Virginia and five runs in 5.1 IP in the ACC Tournament game against Clemson. Fortunately for Moss, some late offensive fireworks and solid bullpen work salvaged both of those games for the Heels.
Speaking of offense, given the difference in caliber, the Tar Heel bats can make this an easy outing for all concerned. On paper, Canisius has a 4.04 ERA, has only given up 19 home runs all season and teams are batting .247 against the Griffs. Of course said numbers came against the 273rd schedule in the country. The best scenario for the Heels' highly ranked offense is a big inning early to seal the affair and only minimally exercise the bullpen. It would not be surprising if Colin Moran picks up his game, especially given there is talk of him being the #1 pick in the MLB Draft.
With the way the rotation is setup, a win in this game sets up the Heels nicely to have Kent Emanuel snag a win on the winner's bracket game putting UNC in perfect position to close out the regional on Sunday.