Photo courtesy of GoHeels.com.
CHAPEL HILL – The UNC baseball team held the No. 1 spot in almost all the polls for nearly the entire year, until the final couple weeks of the regular season; the ACC tournament saw two games of 14 innings or more; and Carolina made it into the Super Regional with a 13-inning contest against Florida Atlantic.
Senior first baseman, Cody Stubbs, asks what’s the College World Series after a season like his team has seen?
“I think the hardest part and the most nerve-wracking part is just getting there,” Stubbs says. “Once you get there, you just go out and play, enjoy it, and do the best you can. The hard part is done; now you just get to go and enjoy and have a chance to win a national championship.”
Junior left-hander Kent Emanuel led the Tar Heels on the mound this season. He struggled in the Super Regional, but was able to leave the hill in Boshamer Stadium on a high note when he threw just two pitches to help get Carolina’s final two outs of the series.
He says it’s great to be heading back to the College World Series.
“It feels good, especially having my sophomore year where we didn’t get to go and didn’t get to experience it,” Emanuel says. “It’s going to be nice to get back out there and play. It’s going to be exciting.”
N.C.State didn’t have to deal with the weather delays that Carolina did and sat waiting for its opponent after taking down Rice in the Super Regional.
This will mark the fourth meeting between the Tar Heels and Wolfpack. Stubbs says what a way to start the College World Series against conference foe and rival, N.C.State.
“We always have been confident all year,” Stubbs says. “There’s a good team, but we are too. We’re excited about it.”
“It’s crazy,” Stubbs says. “They’re 20 minutes away, or whatever, and we’re traveling however far away to play them again. It’s exciting, and it’ll be a good game.”
And UNC Head Coach, Mike Fox, says although it’s a familiar foe, it’s a different stage.
“Everything’s different when you get to the College World Series,” Coach Fox says. “The opponent obviously is your foe, but you’re battling against other things out there as well: the largeness of it, the media, the scrutiny.”
Carolina and N.C.State meet at 3:00 p.m. Eastern in Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series. You can hear all of UNC’s games in the national championship series on WCHL and streaming live here.