CHAPEL HILL --- No. 29 North Carolina returns to Atlantic Coast Conference play for a key three-game series this weekend as the Tar Heels host in-state foe Wake Forest beginning Friday evening at 7 at Boshamer Stadium. Carolina is 19-14 and 7-8 in the Atlantic Coast Conference after splitting a pair of midweek contests against North Carolina A&T and Coastal Carolina. Wake Forest is 22-13 and 10-5 in the league after taking two of three from Maryland last weekend and losing to UNCG on Tuesday.
AT A GLANCE
Records: North Carolina 19-14 (7-8 ACC), Wake Forest 22-13 (10-5 ACC)
Rankings: North Carolina is ranked No. 29 by the NCBWA. Wake Forest is unranked.
Video: GoHeelsTV. All three games will be streamed live on GoHeels.com.
Audio: GoHeels.com. All three games will be streamed live on GoHeels.com.
On The Web: GoHeels.com • Twitter: @DiamondHeels
|Carolina Probable Starters||Wake Forest Probable Starters|
|Friday||RHP Trent Thornton (6-1, 1.71 ERA)||RHP Jack Fischer (4-2, 2.78 ERA)|
|Saturday||RHP Benton Moss (2-1, 3.54 ERA)||LHP John McLeod (5-1, 1.84 ERA)|
|Sunday||TBA||RHP Connor Kaden (2-3, 4.50 ERA)|
CAROLINA-WAKE FOREST SERIES HISTORY
• North Carolina is 158-122-3 all-time against Wake Forest, including a 28-19 record under head coach Mike Fox.
• Only NC State (286 meetings) and Virginia (285) are more common opponents for Carolina than Wake Forest (283).
• The Tar Heels have won six games in a row in the series, including a three-game sweep in Winston-Salem last season. Wake's last win came in the opener of a three-game series in Chapel Hill in 2012, and the Demon Deacons' last series victory came in Winston-Salem in 2011.
• Wake Forest hasn't won a series in Chapel Hill since a three-game sweep in 2001, and the Tar Heels are 9-4 in series against the Deacons under Mike Fox.
SECOND HALF OPENS FRIDAY
• Friday marks the start of the second half of ACC play, as the Tar Heels will play five more conference series in 2014.
• Starting with Wake Forest, Carolina will face four teams that currently have a winning record in league play - Wake (10-5), Virginia (12-3), Florida State (13-2) and Miami (11-4).
• Freshman RHP A.J. Bogucki was outstanding in his first career start Tuesday against North Carolina A&T. The Gilbertsville, Pa., native carried a no-hitter into the seventh and combined with Trevor Kelley and Jack Geraghty for a one-hit shutout. Bogucki struck out 10 and walked three.
• Junior SS Michael Russell was 6 for 9 during the week and is 12 for his last 18 at the plate, pushing his batting average to a team-high .336. Only Russell, 2B Wood Myers and LF Parks Jordan have started all 33 games in 2014.
THORNTON NAMED TO GOLDEN SPIKES MIDSEASON LIST
• Sophomore RHP Trent Thornton was one of 50 players named to the Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list, USA Baseball announced Thursday.
• The watch list will continue to be a "rolling" list until May 27 -- when the semifinalists for the award are announced -- ensuring that athletes can play themselves into consideration for the award. The Golden Spikes Award trophy will be awarded live in Los Angeles on July 17.
• Thornton enters the weekend with a 6-1 record, and his ERA of 1.71 is third in the ACC. He is also in the top 10 in the ACC in strikeouts, WHIP, hits allowed per nine innings and K/BB ratio. His six wins are tied for the league lead.
• Carolina's Colin Moran was one of three finalists for the 2013 Golden Spikes Award, which was won by San Diego's Kris Bryant.
RUSSELL, ZENGEL TOPPING ACC CHARTS
• Despite having four position players drafted off the 2013 squad, North Carolina features two upperclassman hitters that are dotting the ACC statistical leaderboards.
• Junior SS Michael Russell leads the conference in hitting in league games, as the Huntersville, N.C., product is batting .400 (24-60) against ACC competition. Russell also leads the league (ACC games only) in total hits (24), doubles (7) and total bases (36), is second in on-base percentage (.507), fourth in stolen bases (5) and sixth in walks (11).
• Senior DH/1B Tom Zengel leads the league in slugging percentage (ACC games only) with a .721 and is tied for the league lead in home runs with four. He is also tied for fifth in total bases with 31.