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March 7, 2013

Tar Heels set to open ACC play

Baseball Preview

No. 1 North Carolina takes to the road this weekend as the Tar Heels open ACC play in
Winston-Salem, N.C. against Wake Forest.

The Tar Heels will open conference play on the road for the fourth consecutive year. UNC has posted a 5-4 record the last three years in the ACC opening weekend with a
3-0 sweep at Clemson in 2012 after back-to-back 1-2 series marks against Wake Forest
in 2011 and Duke in 2010.

Best Start Since 2000

The Tar Heels are off to their best start since 2000 as Carolina has reeled off 11 straight wins to open the 2013 campaign.

The 11-0 start marks the third time under head coach Mike Fox that the Tar Heels have won their first 11 games, joining the 1999 and 2000 squads.

Since the ACC went to an extended league schedule in 1987 the Tar Heels will open league play undefeated for just the second time on Friday. The 2000 group was also unbeaten entering ACC play but dropped the opener to snap the 21-0 start.

The Tar Heels have posted a 183-35 (.839 winning percentage) record against nonconference foes before the opening ACC series of the year during Fox's tenure.

North Carolina-Wake Forest Series

Friday's series opener will be the 281st meeting between the Tobacco Road rivals, the third-most played opponent in Carolina history behind Virginia (282 games) and NC State (281 games).

After not playing during the 2008 and 2009 regular seasons, the Tar Heels and Demon Deacons once again faced off on the diamond in 2010 and in each of the past two seasons.

In the last five years the Tar Heels own an 11-3 edge over the Demon Deacons but dropped their series in 2011, 1-2.

Since 2008 against Wake Forest the Tar Heels are: 1-2 at Wake ForesT, 5-1 at UNC, 2-0 at ACC Tournament

Carolina In ACC Openers

Since head coach Mike Fox took over the Tar Heels prior to the 1999 season Carolina has posted a 7-7 mark in the opening game of the ACC season and a 24-16 mark in the opening series of ACC play.

The Tar Heels own a winning record in conference season openers on the road with a 12-10 mark under Fox but are 19-20 in the first ACC series away from Chapel Hill.

Carolina has won its last four ACC opening games dating back to a 2008 loss against Clemson.

Tar Heel Bats Fuel Hot Start


March 8-10, 2013
Gene Hooks Field (6,000)
Winston-Salem, N.C.
Weather Forecast

North Carolina: 11-0 (0-0)
Wake Forest: 9-5 (0-0)
All-Time Series: UNC leads

Game 1
Friday, March 8
6:00 PM
Probable Staters:
WFU: LHP Austin Stadler
(RSr 3-0 0.86 ERA)
UNC: LHP Kent Emanuel
(Jr. 2-0 0.78 ERA)

Game 2
Saturday, March 9
4:00 PM
Probable Staters:
WFU: RHP Matt Pirro
(Jr. 3-0 2.40 ERA)
UNC: RHP Benton Moss
(So. 3-0 1.50 ERA)

Game 3
Sunday, March 10
1:00 PM
Probable Staters:
WFU: RHP Justin Van Grouw
(Sr. 1-2 4.85 ERA)
UNC: LHP Hobbs Johnson
(Sr. 0-0 4.05 ERA)

ACC Standings
Baseball America
Perfect Game
USA Today

Game Notes

Carolina enters the weekend averaging nearly 10 runs a game with 107 runs through the opening 11 games.

The 2012 season saw the Tar Heels score 372 runs in 62 games an average of 6 runs per contest.

A big reason behind the offensive surge has been the Tar Heels' ability to keep innings alive this season. The Tar heels are hitting .325 (38-for-117) with two outs this season, compared to a .258 (182-for-706) average during the 2012 season.

The NCAA released its first national ranking summary on Monday and the UNC offense owns 11 marks in the top 50 in the country.

UNC is ranked among the top 20 in the country in:
On-Base Percentage - 3rd, .454
Batting Average - 4th, .334
Scoring - 7th, 9.7
Walks - 14th, 63
Runs - 16th, 97
Doubles Per Game - 19th, 2.4

Pitching Tops In The ACC

Entering the 2013 season the North Carolina pitching staff was considered to be one of the best groups in the country.

The Tar Heel pitchers are living up to the billing in the early going as they own the lowest ERA in the conference at 1.86 entering the weekend.

 Carolina boasts a pair of starters with sub-1.00 ERAs in midweek starter Trent Thornton
at 0.77 in 11.2 innings of work and Friday night starter Kent Emanuel with a 0.78 ERA in a league-high 23 innings.

Five different pitchers have started a game this season and have combined to post a 1.45 ERA through the opening 11 games of the season and have been a key component to UNC's success.

Opponents are struggling to get hits against the bullpen as well as the group has posted a .157 batting average against.

Tar Heels Delivering In Key Situations

Averaging nearly 10 runs a contest takes some timely hitting and the Tar Heels have done just that through the opening three weeks of the season.

Carolina is hitting .411 as a team with runners in scoring position entering the weekend.

The .325 team average with 2 outs in an inning have led to 29 2-out RBIs which equal a
third of the team's 88 RBIs this year.

Leading the charge with two outs in an inning have been the trio of Skye Bolt, Chaz Frank and Mike Zolk.

Frank leads the group with a .462 average with 2 outs, while Zolk checks in at .455 and
Bolt is hitting .400

Frank and Bolt have recorded a team-high 5 2-out RBIs and Zolk owns 4 2-out RBIs.


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