LOD College World Series Preview: North Carolina Tar Heels
The College World Series is set. After a regional round that saw many teams play in monsoon like weather and a Super Regional that saw six of its eight series go to a game three, we finally have our last eight teams standing. Let’s take a look at the schools that have punched their ticket to Omaha. Our fourth team on the list is the North Carolina Tar Heels.
North Carolina Tar Heels (43-18), Number Six National Seed, Eleventh CWS Appearance, Zero CWS Titles
Although the ACC’s number one seed saw an early exit from the conference tournament, no one can discount the resiliency of the Tar Heels. Unlike many teams in this year’s CWS, North Carolina did not get off to the fastest start. Interestingly enough, Carolina actually had a better record in the tough ACC than they did with non conference opponents. Two losses to UNC Wilmington, one to Gardner-Webb, one to St. John’s, and a blowout from East Carolina could be a cause for concern, but we shouldn’t put too much stock into those weekday games. It certainly helps that they tied for the best record in conference.
After blowing out North Carolina A&T and squeaking out a win over Houston, Carolina met those same UH Cougars in the final game of the Chapel Hill regional. That final game was a memorable one. 30 combined runs were scored in a 19-11 final that saw the the Heels come out on top to sweep their regional. Seven Tar Heels had multiple hits in that matchup.
North Carolina was one of only two teams that would also sweep the super regional as they made quick work of a solid Stetson squad. The Heels got to Stetson superstar pitcher Logan Gilbert, first round pick of the Seattle Mariners, in game one as they tagged him for four runs on six hits en route to a 7-4 win before winning game two 7-5.
Top Position Player
Michael Busch has been a beast at the plate this season. The Minnesota native has slashed .333/.478/.548 with 13 homers and 63 RBI in 61 games. The Heels star first baseman had nine RBI over the course of the Chapel Hill regional, five in game one and four in game three.
A 6’6 200 pound righty out of Carrollton, Georgia, Cooper Criswell played two years at Southern Union before bursting on the scene in 2018 as a Tar Heel. A 13th round pick of the Los Angeles Angels, Criswell put up a solid 2.82 ERA while striking out 80 in just 70.1 innings.
First CWS Game: Saturday June 16th vs Oregon State
Featured Image Courtesy of: Jeffrey A. Camarati – UNC Athletics