Is Omaha Ready For North Carolina?


Is Omaha Ready For North Carolina?

The last time North Carolina and Oregon State came together in Omaha it was June 24, 2007. In the eleven years that have passed time didn’t stand still and a lot has changed.

It’s the eleventh appearance but first since 2013 in the College World Series for the Tar Heels. The current roster was likely hanging out on the field of their elementary or middle school back in 2007.

Coach Mike Fox wasn’t around for the 2007 CWS appearance. He has his own experience playing second base for the Tar Heels when they played in the 1978 College World Series, though. The team made it to Omaha four consecutive years (2006-2009) including losses to the Beavers in 2006-2007 but has been stymied since 2013.

“I’m unbelievably happy for these kids,” said Fox. “They’re going to get to experience something that’s going to be a lifetime memory for them.”

Is Omaha Ready For North Carolina?

Oregon State skipper Pat Casey feels a return visit will help his team. This is the second visit in a row for the Beavers and their seventh overall.  “I think it really helps that there’s a lot of players that have been there before. It never hurts to have some experience.”

North Carolina had a slow start to this season before going on a tear after mid-year. The Tar Heels stumbled in the ACC Championship but didn’t miss a beat in the Chapel Hill Regional. They finished off Stetson in the super regional that earned them a spot in Bracket 1.

Part of what’s worked for the Tar Heels is an offense that’s cranking out hits. The team is working the opposing pitchers and racking up RBI’s when it counts. North Carolina only has two regular players hitting .300 or above while Oregon State boasts seven. It’s the type of hitting that counts though and that is seen in the 55 homers for the Heels and 59 for the Beavers.

Momentum has been the key in the NCAA’s with 48 runs, 58 hits and 6 homers over 5 games for North Carolina. The team is hitting .441 with runners in scoring position and driven in 22 runs with two outs.

Is Omaha Ready For North Carolina?

Fox has three right-handers and only one leftie in his bullpen. The lack of left-handed pitchers could play in the favor of Oregon State. Three of their top five hitters all hit from that side of the plate.

Casey has left-hander Luke Heimlich who will likely start against North Carolina. Heimlich has been called a “pro pitcher” by Minnesota coach John Anderson. “Heimlich on the mound will be able to beat anybody in the country.”

North Carolina and Oregon State open play on Saturday, June 16 at 3:00pm EDT with coverage of the game on ESPN. (Bracket)

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