Chapel Hill Regional preview
Carolina learned Monday afternoon that the Tar Heels are the sixth national seed (paired with the Tucson regional in the supers), and slated to host East Carolina, St. John's and Cornell in this weekend's Chapel Hill regional. Ticket information can be found here, and all-session tickets are now available.
Here's a capsule look at Carolina's regional, with some background information provided by the essential Warren Nolan Nitty Gritty Report.
ECU Pirates (2 seed)
BoydsWorld.com RPI: 32
Resume Strengths: 25th best strength of schedule in the country, wins over NC State, UCF, UNC-Wilmington and at Rice.
Resume Weaknesses: 8-13 on the road, 5-10 against the RPI top 50, lost six of last nine after Carolina’s game in Greenville was rained out on May 9.
Stats to know: The Pirates are loaded with pitching, including a lefthanded starter, Kevin Brandt, who has a 2012 ERA of 1.85 and already has a career win over the Tar Heels. The solid staff features an ERA of 3.09, good for 21st in the country. Carolina won a ten-inning, 1-0 decision over the Pirates on April 25.
NCAA Tournament experience: Twelve NCAA appearances in the last 14 years and five appearances in the last six years. The Pirates went 2-2 in the Charlottesville Regional last year before being eliminated by Virginia.
St. John’s Red Storm (3 seed)
BoydsWorld.com RPI: 46
Resume Strengths: Big East Conference champions, 15-10 on the road, 6-4 in the last 10 games and riding a 4-game winning streak.
Resume Weaknesses: 2-5 against the RPI top 50, 80th best strength of schedule.
Stats to know: The Red Storm lost, 8-4, at Boshamer Stadium on Feb. 28. St. John’s plays small ball, and ranks among the national top 35 in stolen bases and walks. They have struggled defensively, with a fielding percentage of .959 that ranks 230th in America. St. John’s does have a quality lefthanded starter, Sean Hagan, who boasts an 8-2 record with a 2.58 ERA. Opponents are hitting .230 against him.
NCAA Tournament experience: St. John’s is making its 34th NCAA Tournament experience, among the top 10 number of appearances in the country. The Red Storm are in their third straight NCAA Tournament. They went 1-2 in the 2011 Charlottesville Regional (defeating East Carolina, 2-0) and 3-2 in the 2010 Charlottesville Regional, when they beat Ole Miss and Virginia before losing to the Cavaliers, 5-3, in the winner-take-all regional championship game.
Cornell Big Red (4 seed)
BoydsWorld.com RPI: 125
Resume Strengths: 22-7 on the road, Ivy League champions
Resume Weaknesses: The 240th best strength of schedule in the country, 0-2 against the RPI top 100, 22-7 against teams with an RPI above 200
Stats to know: 72nd in team ERA, 108th in team batting average, 153rd in fielding. Right-handed starter Connor Kaufmann was a first-team All-Ivy League pick.
NCAA Tournament experience: Cornell is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1977.