For the third time in the last five seasons, the Tar Heels’ baseball team will begin the season ranked in the top 5 in the country. North Carolina was tabbed as the #2 team in the country according to Collegiate Baseball only behind preseason favorite Arkansas University. The Heels return seven position starters and their entire weekend rotation that helped Carolina to a 46-16 record and a #1 seed in a Regional bracket in last year’s NCAA tournament.
Juniors Kent Emanuel (pictured) and Colin Moran were named preseason All-Americans by Louisville Slugger for the 2013 season. Emanuel was listed on the second team and Moran on the Third Team respectively. Kent established himself as the ace of the pitching staff a season ago following suit of guys like Matt Harvey, Alex White, and Andrew Miller before him. He’ll undoubtedly look to improve on his 8-4 record and 1.96 ERA that he posted a year ago. Moran will be back to anchor the infield at third base as well as the middle of the batting order. Moran hit for .365 last season and posted a .494 slugging percentage. While his ability to get on base is outstanding, he could stand to improve his power numbers as he only hit three home runs a season ago.
The Heels will open up their new campaign against Seton Hall on February 15 in Chapel Hill as they look to redeem themselves from their disappointing and premature exit from the NCAA Tournament last year at the hands of St. John’s University. There isn’t any reason to doubt that Carolina is capable of making a deep run this year as Mike Fox has all the pieces in place. Talent and experience play in the Carolina’s favor and it should be fun to watch!
Check back in a couple weeks for KIH’s complete baseball preview.