Chapel Hill Super Regional Preview
Coach: Mike Fox
Postseason history: Eighth super regional appearance. Seeking seventh trip to Omaha and first since 2013.
Postseason route: No. 1 seed in Chapel Hill Regional. Went 3-0, defeating Houston 19-11 in regional final.
Scouting report (anonymous coach breaks down the Tar Heels)
“They’re the ultimate team, in my opinion, in terms of how they do it. It seems like every night, it’s a different guy. I mean, (Kyle) Datres has carried a lot of the load for parts of it. When we faced them, Cody Roberts was kind of the guy that was carrying them at that time. But it kind of goes from guy to guy. Michael Busch is the guy to me who scares you the most, but offensively, they find ways. And there’s always pressure.
“Michael Busch, from a competitive standpoint, you’ve gotta earn everything with that guy. He gets in there and he grinds and he competes, and it’s impressive. And Ashon McGee, (Atlantic Coast Conference) freshman of the year last year, he got off to a little bit of a slow start, but it’s lefthanded, it’s loose, it’s easy. He has good feel for what he’s doing at the plate and seems to have turned the corner. And Brandon Riley, he’s got the knack to get the big hit when it matters.
“Pitching-wise, the formula that seems to work—and maybe everyone needs to go to—is they’ve got a guy in the pen in (Josh) Hiatt that can close the door. And they’re good. I feel like they’ve got a tough matchup with Stetson because the Hatters have those two guys on the mound. But being at home—Carolina has played really, really well at home historically and I expect that to be the case this weekend.
“Gianluca Dalatri is a difference-maker. It’s command, it’s got a chance to be velocity. I had the chance to see Luca so many times in high school, and the most impressive part about him was his command. And that’s when he was throwing mid- to high 80s. Now, it’s different; it’s command with an elite fastball. And it’s going to be a really tough matchup. He was out when we faced them and it didn’t break my heart. You never want anyone to get hurt, but it didn’t break my heart to not see him. He’s a doozy.
“Austin Bergner, if he’s on, buckle up. When he’s on, he’ll throw 10-15 big league pitches in one outing. It’s legit stuff. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked up and he’s cruising past the sixth inning. His pitch count can get a little high sometimes, which has gotten him in trouble, so he can’t go as deep into games as you’d think he would, but it’s electric. And (Cooper) Criswell—it’s strikes, it sinks, it slides. He’s been kind of the guy who’s emerged as the frontrunner. Even though his stuff isn’t as electric as the other guys, it’s still pretty good. Their pitching is good. Their pitching is what’s made them historically. And they’re way more balanced this year than they were the past couple of years. It’s why they’ve had the year they’ve had.”
Coach: Steve Trimper
Postseason history: First super regional appearance. Seeking first trip to Omaha.
Postseason route: No. 1 seed in DeLand Regional. Went 3-0, defeating Oklahoma State 11-1 in regional final.
Scouting report (anonymous coach breaks down the Hatters)
“I’ve been in this league probably longer than anybody, and it’s as good a pitching staff as I’ve ever seen in this league. As a staff, I don’t know if there’s ever been a complete staff as good as I’ve seen from them. Four guys that can go at any time, and it’s a testament to them. Their midweek guy didn’t even pitch in a conference game, and he was second team all-conference.
“(Brooks) Wilson is a poor man’s Todd Helton, in my eyes. Not the same kind of talent but the same kind of spirit and attitude and the way he puts his team on his back at the end of games. And he’s hit for three years and now all of a sudden he’s hitting home runs against people. There’s no question he’s one of the most valuable players in the conference—not to mention he has the best hair in college baseball. He looks like Baseball Jesus.
“The first baseman, Eric Foggo, he’s gonna be a monster. You can see it. It’s coming. Other than that, they don’t have a lot of guys who are gonna hit it out of the park. They’re just gonna go station to station and try to get guys into scoring position. And they’re gonna try to score one or two runs, and that’s all they need, really, as good as they pitch. They scored a few more runs in the regional, but back when we played them, they just tried to get a one- or two-run lead, and that’s all they needed.
“Logan Gilbert, he just keeps getting better and better. And his mentality, it just seems like he really believed in himself this year and was confident in every pitch. He’s always been a guy who’s going to attack you with his fastball, but his breaking ball, he really commanded it this year, and I think that’s made him have his jump from freshman year to this year. He fields his position better. He’s improved in every aspect. And that’s why he’s a first-rounder.
“Jack Perkins, he’s a three-pitch mix guy. He’s got a great changeup. He’s just Steady Eddy. He’s probably 89-91 mph, and he’s gonna throw those three pitches at any point in time. And he just competes his butt off. Mitchell Senger, for us, he probably has the least of the stuff, but he has a funky delivery, he’s lefthanded, he throws across his body, likes to work quick, and he just gave us all kinds of fits. And he holds runners well. And their midweek guy, Joey Gonzalez, same thing, he’s 88-90 mph, but from what I understand is he’s just a complete bulldog and will challenge anybody. Any time you have four quality starters and a lights-out guy in Brooks Wilson, you’re hard to beat.”