UNC, ECU to host baseball Super Regionals this weekend. Here's what you need to know.
Five college baseball teams from North Carolina entered the NCAA Tournament last week. Now, only two remain, with chances to appear in the College World Series.
The North Carolina Tar Heels and the East Carolina Pirates won their regionals last weekend and will each host an opponent in the Super Regional stage this weekend.
It’s the 14th time the Tar Heels have won a regional title, and the seventh time for the Pirates. UNC is seeking its 12th College World Series bid, while ECU is seeking its first.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of their decisive games this weekend in Chapel Hill and Greenville.
UNC Tar Heels
- Top Hitter: Vance Honeycutt (.292 average, 24 home runs, 56 RBI)
- Top Pitcher: Max Carlson (3.61 ERA, 84 strikeouts)
- How They Got Here: UNC is 42-20 on the season. Last weekend, they beat Hofstra and Georgia, and lost to VCU. The Heels then played a two-game set with VCU to determine the region’s winner. UNC beat the Rams 19-8 in Game 1, then 7-3 in Monday’s decisive Game Two. Mike Madej drove in five runs for UNC across those pair of wins in Chapel Hill.
- Fast Facts: Honeycutt was recently named to the Freshman All-American Team. His 24 homers are tied for a single-season Carolina program record. He is the first player in UNC history to have at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season.
- They Said It: “I’m thankful for our crowd. They were tremendous. I’ve been in a lot of games here – and they’ve been big games – but I felt like our crowd, this entire regional, was phenomenal. That’s a home field advantage and another reason why we won.” – UNC coach Scott Forbes
- Scouting Arkansas: The Razorbacks of the SEC are 41-19 on the year and emerged as the winner of the regional in Stillwater, Oklahoma by beating Grand Canyon and winning two-of-three against Oklahoma State. Cayden Wallace has had Arkansas’ best bat this season, tallying 73 hits and 56 RBI. Three Razorbacks pitchers have more than 75 strikeouts on the season.
- Watch: The first pitch of Game 1 is Saturday at 11 a.m. on ESPN.
- Top Hitter: Bryson Worrell (.324 average, 18 home runs, 57 RBI)
- Top Pitcher: Carter Spivey (2.45 ERA, 75 strikeouts)
- How They Got Here: ECU is 45-19 on the season and has won 20 of their past 21 games. Last weekend in Greenville, the Pirates beat Coppin State, Virginia and Coastal Carolina to advance to the Super Regional. Worrell was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Regional after driving in nine runs across four games.
- Fast Facts: This is the third straight year East Carolina is playing in a Super Regional, but this is the first time they’ll host in this round on-campus in Greenville. Spivey was recently named a finalist for the Stopper of the Year award for the top relief pitcher in the college game.
- They Said It: “How about them Pirates, baby? That’s what I got to say. We’re going to host a Super Regional on-campus for the first time, so I’m pretty fired up and I’m going to enjoy it. I’m just proud of our guys.” – ECU coach Cliff Godwin
- Scouting Texas: The Longhorns are 45-19 on the year and won their regional in Austin, Texas last weekend by topping Air Force and Louisiana Tech, going undefeated in three games. Skyler Messinger was named Most Outstanding Player of the regional, notching seven hits and four RBI in three games. Texas hits well as a team too, as their .317 batting average is the sixth-best in the nation.
- Watch: The first pitch of Game 1 is at noon in Greenville on Friday and will air on ESPN2.