Jared Fialko

For UNC 'this ain't a scene, it's an arms race'

Posted April 21, 2013

UNC's Kent Emanuel limited Duke to two hits as No. 1 North Carolina defeated the Blue Devils 7-1 in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday at Boshamer Stadium.

I know, a Fall Out Boy reference as a column headline isn't a good start, but their new song isn't bad, so bear with me.

Across the board, the Tar Heels are top dogs in terms of college baseball at the moment. Numero uno according to USA Today Coaches Poll, Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America, and NCBWA. Cracking the case of Carolina's success isn't exactly a job for Jessica Fletcher, even though that sweet Angela Lansbury did become the absolute master of the 80's freeze-frame laugh to close the show:

It's an arms race in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels pitching staff is straight up stifling. Third in the nation in ERA at 2.16. Fourth In terms of hits allowed per nine innings. Seven shutouts on the season. Kent Emanuel's been even better than advertised. In nine outings, the Junior's racked up a 8-1 mark with an incredible earned run average of 1.82 while only surrendering seven extra basehits.

Benton Moss is a K machine. 7-and-0 on the mound, in 57 and two-thirds innings of work, he's struck out 67.

Then there's the Heels' do-it-all, Trent Thornton, who's posted some downright filthy stats. 8-0 record, 39 strikeouts, 3 saves while allowing two extra basehits in 49-plus innings of work.

Toss in a bullpen with solid middle-to-late relievers and opponents are hitting just a hair above the Mendoza line against UNC. That's a differential of more than .100 from what they bring to the plate.

Speaking of which, let's not short-change the Heel hitters, they've performed more than admirably in their own right. Carolina leads the country in on-base percentage at .428. They're a patient bunch too, drawing 236 free passes, recently passing Central Arkansas for tops the country in that category. Three players have been regularly flirting with .400 at the plate all season long, Cody Stubbs, Colin Moran, and Skye Bolt. Tangent Time! Does that not seriously rank as one of the best baseball names ever? Skye Bolt. Geez, talk about a name that could cut glass, y'know like razor sharp. That's a name in bright blue neon lights with a purple outline. And the name is so bright and so sharp that the sign, it just blows up because the name is so powerful.

So, while the guys who play positions 2 through 9 are holding their own, in Omaha everyone can hit. You can't put a price on quality pitching in the College World Series. Right now, that gives Carolina an incredible edge.

There's a reason head coach Mike Fox was downright giddy about his young guns in the preseason. So far, they've hurled UNC to the front of the pecking order and 38 W's as opposed to only 2 losses.

Currently listening to: Silversun Pickups, "The Pit"


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  • StunGunn Apr 22, 2013

    View quoted thread

    I agree, especially about State. They're playing really well now and it's a home series for them. They may be the toughest team the Heels have faced all season. I hate that Sky Bolt is sidelined with a broken foot - sure could use his fire power, but you gotta play who you have, and the Heels still have a very good roster.

  • BeastOfTheHill Apr 22, 2013

    View quoted thread

    this is a great team but nc state loves to beat the Tar Heels! I think nc state could get one of the three. The UVa series will be awesome too! Not to mention we have to0 go to GT in between.

    a tough finish for the Heels but it should prepare them for Omaha!

  • fouroaksboys Apr 22, 2013

    This is a great unc team 39-2 on the season and at the front line in just about every statistic the wolfpack are a great team to and it will be a good series next weekend but i think the heels have just way to much for the wolfpack this year if they sweep this series against nc state they may sweep their way the rest of the season this is an incredible team!

  • Luxy Apr 21, 2013

    This thread will be oh-so-hurtful for poor kmor.

    You okay, kmor?

    Poor thing.

  • StunGunn Apr 21, 2013

    Fall Out Boy's "Arms Race" is a great song, and "arms race" is fitting for this Tar Heel team. As for Sky Bolt, it's as if his parents knew the day he was born that he'd be a super star in whatever sport he chose to play.

    Coach Fox has been "always a bridesmaid, never a bride", so I really hope this is HIS year. Baseball takes a back seat to basketball and football at Carolina, yet Fox has quietly gone about his business year after year, with frequent stops at Omaha.

    I really hope this is the year Carolina wins the CWS - great team and terrific coach. Go Heels!

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