The Chapel Hill Super Regionals features another West Coast school making the trek to the East as Stanford faces off against the North Carolina Tar Heels. Stanford won the Cal-State Fullerton Regional by sweeping their three games with victories over Kansas State, Cal-State Fullerton, and Illinois. The Tar Heels also had a perfect regional run as they defeated Maine and James Madison (twice) to advance to the Supers.
North Carolina (48-14)
Best Pitcher: Patrick Johnson (12-1, 2.36 ERA)
Best Hitter: Colin Moran (.335 BA, 9 HR, 69 RBI)
Strength: Pitching has been the strength all season with Senior RHP Patrick Johnson and Freshman LHP Kent Emanuel (7-1, 2.62 ERA).
Weakness: Inexperience in the postseason is the biggest issue as leading hitter Colin Moran and number 2 starter Kent Emanuel are freshmen.
UNC will win if…Patrick Johnson and Kent Emanuel can shut down the Stanford offense and the offense can find a way to beat the two headed duo of Mark Appel and Jordan Pries who were outstanding against Cal-State Fullerton last weekend. They also have a ridiculous 34-3 overall record in Chapel Hill this season.
UNC will lose if…Stanford plays up to their talent level. Mark Appel is one of the top pitching prospects for the 2012 MLB Draft and the Cardinal have a shutdown closer in Chris Reed who was selected by the LA Dodgers with the 16th overall pick.
Best Pitcher: Chris Reed (6-2, 2.54 ERA, 9 SV)
Best Hitter: Stephen Piscotty (.370 BA, 3 HR, 40 RBI)
Strength: Depth of the Lineup as the Cardinal have five players hitting over .300 led by Stephen Piscotty at .370. Brian Ragira and Austin Wilson also need to be watched as they are two of the top freshmen bats in the country.
Weakness: Inexperience is the biggest issue. Only Zach Jones and Ben Clowe of the regular day starters were on the last Cardinal squad to appear in a Super Regional during their 2008 run to the College World Series.
Stanford will win if…..Mark Appel and Jordan Pries dominate the Tar Heels hitters like they did to the teams in the Cal-State Fullerton Regional.
Stanford will lose if…..the inexperience of the team catches up to them in a hostile environment in the tough ACC. They are not a good road team this season with only a 15-13 record but played a very tough out of conference schedule early in the season.
Prediction: Stanford 2-1