Tar Heels Open ACC Action At Wake Forest
• 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 non-conference foes before the opening ACC series of the year during Fox’s tenure.
North Carolina-Wake Forest Series History
• 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
• 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.
Freshmen Leading The Charge
• Freshman outfielder Skye Bolt entered Carolina as one of the top prospects in the country and the Woodstock, Ga., native has lived up to the reputation through the opening weeks.
• Bolt is leading the Tar Heels with the bat so far with a .487/.667/.580 slash line through the first three weeks. Bolt owns the 17th-highest batting average in the country this week and the 20th-highest on-base percentage.
• Fellow freshman Landon Lassiter is right behind Bolt in nearly every offensive category early on with a .438/.563/.609 slash line.
• Lassiter earned Astros Foundation College Classic All-Tournament Team honors after hitting .500 at the tournament with his second four-hit game of the season.
• Lassiter owns the sixth-highest on-base percentage in the country.
Even Distribution Throughout The Lineup
• Nine different Tar Heels have tallied at least five RBIs this season and five have eight or more through the opening three weeks of the season.
• There have also been six Tar Heels who have scored double-digit runs.
• Junior Colin Moran is second on the team with 12 RBIs but has been getting on base and leads the team with 18 runs scored, the fourth-most in the ACC.
Moran Taking His Free Passes
• Junior Colin Moran earned preseason first team All-America honors from Baseball America prior to the 2013 season and is expected to be the cornerstone of the Tar Heel offense.
• Moran has been pitched around through the first three weeks of the season and has drawn a team-high 13 walks.
• His 1.2 walks per game ratio ranks ninth in the country this week.
• As a result of reaching base at a .491 clip, Moran has scored 18 runs this season an average of 1.6 per contest.
• The ACC owns the top three run scorers per game in the nation in NC State’s Trea Turner (1.91), Virginia’s Brandon Cogswell (1.75) and Moran.
Emanuel Continues Dominance
• Junior left-hander Kent Emanuel did something no other Tar Heel had ever done in the opener against Seton Hall when he became the first pitcher in UNC history to throw a shutout in the season opener.
• Emanuel held Seton Hall in check all night long as he surrendered just four singles and struck out five batters over his nine innings of work.
• The Pirates managed just one runner past second base in the contest as Emanuel recorded his second career shutout.
• The shutout was the first thrown by a Carolina pitcher since Emanuel closed the door on Texas in the 2011 College World Series.
• Emanuel continued his dominance with a seven inning two-run performance against Stony Brook to improve to 2-0.
• Emanuel and Rice’s Austin Kubitza lived up to the pitcher’s duel in Friday’s Astros Foundation College Classic opener.
• The pair each allowed one run in no decisions as the Tar Heel bullpen helped anchor a 2-1 win.
• Carolina is one of a few schools in the country that returns its entire weekend rotation that closed out the 2012 season.
• The Tar Heel trio of junior Kent Emanuel (8-4), sophomore Benton Moss (7-2) and junior Hobbs Johnson (7-1) combined for 22 wins a year ago.
• The 22 returning wins are tied for the second most returning in the country with Louisville. Florida State returns 25 but sophomore Mike Compton is set to miss the 2013 season due to injury after winning 12 games in 2012.
Most Starting Rotation Wins Returning in 2013
1. Florida State 25
T2. North Carolina 22
T2. Louisville 22
T4. Cal State Bakersfield 20
T4. Georgia Tech 20
T4. Saint Louis 20
(courtesy of Saint Louis University)