The South Carolina Gamecocks head north to take on Regional rivals North Carolina in a Super Regional showdown. The winner of the best of three series will head to the College World Series in Omaha NE. The games will be played at 7 pm Friday on ESPN, 7 pm Saturday on ESPN, and 7 pm Sunday on ESPN 2 (if necessary).
South Carolina (45-18)
The Gamecocks are coming off a perfect regional with victories over Wofford 9-1 in the opening game then defeated Charlotte in the winner’s 12-8 and then in the Regional Championship they took on the 49ers again by knocking them off 11-6. South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner is in his 11th season at SC with a 499-218 record. He was at NC State for nine years before moving to SC as his overall record as a head coach is 894-391-3 in 20 years. He leads one of the top hitting teams in the country this season in which his team has a batting average of .302. The team is led by the potential number 1 draft pick in 2008 in Justin Smoak. He wowed scouts and players in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2006. The CBB was also impressed by him last season when he saw Cotuit play Hyannis. Smoak is hitting .317 with 21 HR and 69 RBI. He is not the only power threat on the team as James Darnell leads the team in hitting with a .335 BA and 18 HR on the year. Phil Disher is also a potent hitter with a .327 BA and 15 HR. The South Carolina pitching staff is led by Harris Honeycutt who sports only an 8-5 record and 3.59 ERA. Arik Hempy (6-3, 3.38 ERA) and Mike Cisco (6-2, 3.76 ERA) round out the pitching staff. Jeff Jeffords leads the team with five saves. He sports an ERA of 2.87 and a record of 6-1 in 22 appearances.
South Carolina Game Notes
South Carolina Season Stats
North Carolina (51-12)
The North Carolina Tar Heels also had a perfect regional with victories over Jacksonville 6-0, East Carolina 11-10, and Western Carolina 6-5. The Tar Heels needed ninth inning rallies in the East Carolina and Western Carolina games but were able to survive. The Tar Heels are led by ninth year head coach Mike Fox who has a 392-172-1 record in his career at his alma mater. He was the head coach Wesleyan for 15 years to put his career record as a head coach at 932-313-5 in 24 years. The Tar Heels are making returning to the Super Regional round after making the College World Series final series eventually losing to Oregon State. They are led by freshman sensation Dustin Ackley who leads the team in hitting with a .427 batting average. He has also hit seven homers on the season. Tim Fedroff is also a freshman and is second on the team with a .363 batting average. Robert Woodard leads the starting pitchers with a 10-2 record and a 3.02 ERA. He is joined by Alex White (6-4, 3.87 ERA) and Luke Putkonen (7-1, 4.46 ERA) who round out the starting pitchers. Fox has also been using Rob Wooten out of the bullpen as he has 38 appearances with a 5-1 record and a 2.38 ERA. Andrew Carignan is the closer for the Heels as he leads the team with 14 saves with an ERA of 1.53. He carries experience in pitching in the CWS last season.
UNC Series Notes
UNC Season Stats
News and Observer Article about Woodard
News and Observer Article about Boshamer Stadium
Friday: UNC Robert Woodard (10-2, 3.02 ERA) vs SC Harris Honeycutt (8-5, 3.59 ERA)
Saturday: UNC Alex White (6-4, 3.87 ERA) vs SC Arik Hempy (6-3, 3.38 ERA)
Sunday: UNC Luke Putkonen (7-1, 4.46 ERA) vs SC Mike Cisco (6-2, 3.76 ERA)
The CBB predicts that South Carolina wins the Super Regional in three games as they take advantage of the UNC pitching staff.
Greensboro News Record