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
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.
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
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
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