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Opponent Preview: UNC Chapel Hill

Meet the Tar Heels... Or don’t. They’re gross.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: APR 06 North Carolina v South Carolina Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: UNC Chapel Hill

Mascot: Pretentious A**holes | School Location: Chapel Hell, NC | Conference: ACC

2022 Record: 25-17 (8-13, T-6th Coastal) | 2022 RPI Rank: 34

2021 Record: 28-27 (18-18, T-3rd Coastal) | 2021 RPI Rank: 46

2020 Record: 12-7 (0-0, T-5th Coastal) | 2020 RPI Rank: 69 (nice)


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: Doak Field at Dail Park (Raleigh, NC)

Game Time(s): Fri, May 6 @ 6:30pm | Sat, May 7 @ 2:00pm | Sun, May 8 @ 1:00pm

TV: Friday (ACCNX), Saturday (ESPNU), Sunday (ACCNX),

Radio: The Varsity Network (Friday | Saturday | Sunday)

Live Stats: Sidearm Stats


Tell me about this team

Alright, now. This is going to be a quick and dirty preview, and that’s for two reasons:

  1. I don’t care for UNC Chapel Hill and therefore don’t want to put the time into this, and
  2. It’s Cinco de Mayo and that case of Modelo in the fridge ain’t gonna drink itself.

Despite their record, UNC is still within striking distance of a postseason appearance. It’s not going to be easy, mind you, but with NC State, Wake Forest, and Florida State remaining on the schedule (all three Top 25 RPI teams), going 6-3 and then following it up with a good showing in the ACC Tournament may well be enough to get them there.

Yeah, I hope that doesn’t happen either.

This team is currently tied for last place in the Coastal Division, but they’re really more of a middle-of-the-road ACC squad. The offense has been average in conference play and about the best thing you can say about them is that they pick their spots well for stealing bases, even if they’re not prolific in doing so. North Carolina is a team that’s going to play for the big inning.

The pitching has been a tick below average in ACC play. Their biggest problem: they give up lots of dingers. Forty-two of them in 21 conference games. That’s the highest HR/G average among ACC teams. Their second biggest problem: they issue a lot of walks, over five per game.

The defense has been solid, one of the better groups in the league, and they’re especially good at turning double plays... which might also be helped by the fact that their pitchers keep putting runners on first base. You know, lots of opportunities there. Opponents have also been successful at stealing on the Tar Heels (22-of-28 in ACC play).


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Friday: RHP Max Carlson (SO)

Saturday: LHP Brandon Schaeffer (JR)

Sunday: Johnny Wholestaff


Key Players:

Offense

SS Danny Serretti (JR) - .331/.415/.521, 11 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 34 R, 27 RBI, 22 BB, 26 K, 3 HBP, 2-2 SB. Really good middle infielder who mans the position well. Defense was his calling card, but he’s taken his offense to another level this year. Better eye, better patience, better contact. He currently has a 16-game hitting streak going. All told, he’s made himself some money come July.

RF Angel Zarate (rJR) - .348/.435/.459, 14 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 30 R, 25 RBI, 24 BB, 21 K, 4 HBP, 4-6 SB. A really good top-of-the-order hitter who can spray the ball to all fields. A very good eye and great contact skills. Lacks power and speed, which hurts his draft stock, but he’s solid. Kid can really hit.

3B Mac Horvath (SO) - .247/.365/.524, 10 2B, 0 3B, 12 HR, 37 R, 31 RBI, 29 BB, 40 K, 2 HBP, 14-16 SB. Has been one of their best hitters in ACC play, slashing .283/.377/.598 with 15 XBH in 21 games. The draft-eligible 2nd year player is currently riding a 5-game hitting streak. Was a big time SS recruit out of high school, but has become really good at 3B. His size, defense, and hot bat over the latter half of the season should have him moving up draft boards.

Pitching

RHP Max Carlson (SO) - 1-2, 4.04 ERA, 42.1 IP, 33 H, 24 BB, 55 K. A starter for the Tar Heels since day one, he’s slowly turning into a staff ace. Has only worked past the 5th inning in two of his 11 starts this year, but has also allowed more than 3 ER only once.

LHP Brandon Schaeffer (JR) - 4-1, 1 SV, 3.90 ERA, 55.1 IP, 61 H, 13 BB, 41 K. Big time JUCO transfer from WVU Potomac State, he had a ton of accolades coming into the year and was a JUCO All-American in 2021. The coaching staff is careful with his workload; he’s yet to hit 100 pitching in an outing this year. His calling card is his two-seam fastball that can have some crazy arm-side run on it.

RHP Nik Pry (JR) - 1-0, 0 SV, 4.38 ERA, 24.2 IP, 25 H, 10 BB, 32 K. Has been UNC-CH’s best reliever in ACC play, pitching to a 2.81 ERA with 23 K in 16.0 IP. The coaching staff is not afraid to use him often and has put him out there in multiple games of five ACC series.

RHP Connor Ollio (JR) - 1-1, 0 SV, 4.42 ERA, 18.1 IP, 25 H, 5 BB, 16 K. Has a 2.53 ERA in conference play and has allowed more than one run in an outing just once all year. Most thought he’d be a two-way player in college, but he’s yet to step in the batter’s box.

LHP Shawn Rapp (SO) - 2-0, 1 SV, 3.48 ERA, 31.0 IP, 27 H, 18 BB, 44 K. An oft-used arm with a funky, almost side-armed delivery, they like to use him for anything from a LOOGY (lefty one out guy) to a multi-inning reliever.


Quick! Fun Facts!

No fun facts. There is nothing fun about these guys.

Actually, no. I’ll give you one. Despite how talent rich the State of North Carolina is in baseball, UNC Chapel Hill has just 14 guys on their 43 man roster who are from the state. NC State has 27 of 41.


Prediction

State has been the better team this year of the two. Hopefully that keeps up. Sweeps are hard, though.

Outcome: State takes two of three from the grossness down the street.