#1 North Carolina vs UCLA, 8:00 PM, ESPN
And now the Tar Heels face the Wisconsin basketball of the college baseball world.
Deliberate, methodical, boring, you name it, that is what UCLA is on the baseball diamond. The Bruins have won 13 times this season scoring three runs or less including 2-1 twice in this CWS and beating Oregon 1-0 twice during the regular season. UCLA is also 17-2 in one run games and has eight wins by shutout. UCLA is a very tough team to beat and playing in a park that simply sucks all the offensive life out of teams makes the Bruins even tougher.
That being said, if there is a team at the College World Series who has the offensive punch to give UCLA trouble it is the Tar Heels. With Colin Moran picking a really good time to post back-to-back three hit games, there is a feeling that perhaps the UNC offense is poised to get back to mid-season form. Again, it will be a tough chore against UCLA's pitching and in T.D. Ameritrade Park but as the Heels proved last night, they can put together productive innings.
UNC will send Kent Emanuel to the mound on five days rest and with very high hopes the junior has figured out his command issues. If fatigue is still a factor then it is what it is and you can hope the Bruins live "up" to the offensive performance they've shown so far with UCLA batting .169 in Omaha and .249 for the season. If UCLA continues to hit like that, even a less that sharp Emanuel can probably get the Heels through this game.
As has been said many times, UNC's bats need to be a huge factor to mitigate any possible pitching struggles. Trent Thornton won't be available but the bullpen is plenty rested now. If the Heels can break through against UCLA early, chances are the Bruins don't have enough pop in their bats to keep pace.
Then again, this is UNC in Omaha so anything could happen.