Has there ever been this much hype about a baseball series between NC State and UNC? I'm having a hard time remembering anything like this. The Tar Heels were tied with the Wolfpack for the longest winning streak in the nation coming into the week before dropping a game to Wilmington. State's streak nearly ended as well, but the Pack managed to rally past a 12-27 Davidson team to keep it going.
That win over the Wildcats is a good summary of State's recent play. There haven't been a lot of impressive wins--six of the 15 came by one run--but they've gotten some clutch hitting late in games and the bullpen hasn't let them down. Is that sustainable? Well, theseason is short enough that hey you never know.
But one thing is for sure: Carolina's offense is far more explosive than State's; it may be the best in the country.
Colin Moran is hitting .395/.514/.635 with 10 home runs and 67 runs batted in. He's only struck out eight times all year, while earning 39 walks. This Carolina team walks a lot, and NC State's pitching staff has had its issues with control. Carlos Rodon is allowing nearly five walks per nine innings in ACC games. Rodon's start obviously is crucial to State's fortunes--the Tar Heels have a deeper rotation, though the overall pitching numbers are pretty similar:
Rodon's batting average allowed on balls in play is north of .340, which is to some extent simply unlucky. That partially explains his underwhelming 4.48 ERA. Baseball is a bitch and these things happen. UNC's staff has no such outliers, because of course it doesn't. What a bunch of jerks.