UNC Baseball: Super Regional Preview


Keeping It Heel fans, and people nationwide, know the exploits of the top seeded Diamond Heels, but perhaps less know about the team’s regional final foe, South Carolina. The Gamecocks, winners of the 2010 and 2011 College World Series, should provide quite a challenge to the Tar Heels as both teams hope to make it back to Omaha.

June 22, 2012; Omaha, NE, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks batter LB Dantzler (20) watches his foul ball during the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks in the fourth inning of game thirteen of the 2012 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. South Carolina won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

This Season

South Carolina began the season an impressive 17-2, but started SEC play by losing four of five games. The Gamecocks would close the season winning 16 of their final 23 conference games, including an impressive series win in Baton Rouge against fourth national seed LSU. South Carolina did lose their final series to Mississippi State and both games they played in the double elimination SEC tournament, but the team rebounded to go 3-0 in the regional to advance.

Despite the big series win against LSU, South Carolina was substantially better at home than on the road this year. The Gamecocks were 30-6 in Columbia compared to only 11-8 on the road. The team shouldn’t be intimidated by the atmosphere though. In addition to winning the 2010 and 2011 championships, the Gamecocks made it to Omaha last year before losing the championship series to Arizona. South Carolina is used to baseball on the biggest stage.

Players to Watch

The Gamecocks didn’t have any players named to first team All-SEC, but catched Grayson Greiner was a second team selection after hitting .304. Additionally, closer Tyler Webb was a second team selection after notching 17 saves, finishing the season with a 1.36 ERA.

A hitter the Tar Heel pitchers will have to be aware of are senior first basemen/designated hitter LB Dantzler who led the Gamecocks in average, homeruns, and RBI on the season at .322/15/51. Dantzler also has a decent eye at the plate as he drew 37 walks this year.

Perhaps most important for Carolina hitters to be aware of, the top five pitchers for South Carolina are all left handed. With a left handed heavy lineup, the Heels have had some trouble with lefties this season. The top starter, left handed freshman Jordan Montgomery, has battled some injuries this year, but when healthy, he’s been incredible. Montgomery has a 1.67 ERA in 12 starts this year.


The last time these two teams played in the postseason was a 2007 super regional in Chapel Hill that North Carolina won in three games, but the history of these squads goes much deeper than that.

Current South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook was actually on the UNC staff that year. Holbrook is a former Tar Heel player and held a position with UNC baseball from his graduation in 1994 to the 2008 season when he accepted a position with South Carolina as associate head coach. This is his first year as head coach, as former head coach Ray Tanner became the South Carolina Athletics Director.

North Carolina holds the all time series lead 60-34-1, but both teams have much more recent success and will be ready to play. This is two college baseball powers, and it should be an incredible match up.

First pitch of Game 1 is expected at 1PM on Friday, June 7.