North Carolina(35-26) vs Long Beach St(33-25), 1:00 PM, ESPN3
Elimination Game #2.
UNC faces another potential season ending loss and gets a second crack at the Dirtbags of Long Beach State. UNC lost to LBSU 6-1 on Friday sending the Heels into the loser's bracket. The Tar Heels went on to knock off Florida 5-2 ending the Gators' season. LBSU fell to College of Charleston 6-3 in the winner's bracket game setting up today's win or go home contest.
Mike Fox will send freshman Zac Gallen to the mound in hopes of staying alive to face College of Charleston later today. Gallen went six innings giving up four runs and striking out five in UNC's 13-7 win over Maryland last weekend. On the season Gallen is 5-4 with a 4.43 ERA with 59 strikeouts and only 22 walks. The fact Gallen is not prone to walking many batters will be a plus against this particular opponent. The last thing you can give a team like Long Beach State is free base runners. The Dirtbags have the capacity to manufacture runs so not putting runners on base via the walk is a huge benefit.
On the pitching side, UNC will likely be without Reilly Hovis who pitched four innings on Saturday in relief of Benton Moss. Spencer Trayner threw for two innings on Saturday and should be available. Trevor Kelley pitched on Friday should be an option today as would Henry Sisson, A.J. Bogucki and Zach Rice. The fewer pitchers UNC uses in potentially beating LBSU, the better. A win versus the Dirtbags would set up a game against College of Charleston at 7 PM. That game will required more bullpen given that Mike Fox will probably lean on midweek starter Taylore Cherry.