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2019 NCAA Super Regional Preview: Chapel Hill

North Carolina

Mike Fox

Postseason History: Ninth super regional appearance (second consecutive). Seeking eighth trip to Omaha and second consecutive.

Postseason Route: No. 1 seed in Chapel Hill Regional. Went 3-0, defeating Tennessee, 5-2, in regional final.

Scouting Report (anonymous coach breaks down the Tar Heels)

“I think the balance they have from a left and a right situation stands out. Everyone knows Michael Busch is dangerous and he’s got that veteran presence about him but the guy that makes them click is Aaron Sabato. He’s a true freshman, but he plays like a junior or senior from a strength standpoint. If he makes outs, they’re loud outs. He drives the ball to right center field like none other, he has ability to leave the ballpark in any fashion or form. Everybody knows Busch, Ike Freeman, your older guys, but that was the guy that made them go for me. He made them dangerous in their lineup.

“I felt like they have the ability to be special and experienced with Tyler Baum and Austin Bergner. If Bergner’s on, if his fastball command is on, he’s got downhill plane, when he’s mastering that or feeling that everyday it’s a heavy ball and it’s tough to do anything with it. Baum, you have to get him to get his offspeed up in the zone. Both can be a formidable 1-2 punch. They’re in the backend with Joey Lancellotti. They’re confident in him with the fastball-slider combination that he has.

“It’s always been a trademark of Mike’s teams that they’re going to be athletic, move guys in different positions and play a free style of baseball. I feel like they’re going to be sound defensively, they don’t give you extra chances. If those pitchers are pounding the zone like they’re capable of, they can do what they need to do to keep them in ballgames.

“I feel like there’s a special bond there with that group. They were in Omaha last year, those guys that have been there have been through a lot together. When they won the ACC Championship, I felt them take a little extra step.

“Any ball club, when you see teams that get to Omaha, they’re typically teams that go on runs. It’s not always the best teams out there, it’s the ones that get hottest latest. There’s talent there and they’ve done a good job with the injures they had on the mound with Luca Dalatri and piecing things together.”

CBrandon Martorano, Jr.0.2540.3590.416209843
1BMichael Busch, Jr.0.2900.4410.5672311657
2BAshton McGee, Jr.0.2650.4080.422204641
3BIke Freeman, Jr.0.2940.4420.436218648
SSDanny Serretti, Fr.0.2950.3710.429217344
LFDylan Enwiller, Sr.0.2580.3360.453128529
CFDylan Harris, Jr.0.2630.3990.427232729
RFCaleb Roberts, Fr.0.2260.3740.281146017
DHAaron Sabato, Fr.0.3410.4520.6772171658
RHPTyler Baum, Jr.733.9586.225920
RHPAustin Bergner, Jr.615.2177.227720
LHPWill Sandy, Fr.225.945330400
RPJoey Lancelotti, So.622.085224563
RPAustin Love, R-Fr.743.2361.124605


Coach: Butch Thompson

Postseason History: Third super regional appearance (second consecutive). Seeking fifth trip to Omaha and first since 1997.

Postseason Route: No. 2 seed in Atlanta Regional. Went 3-0, defeating Georgia Tech, 4-1, in regional final.

Scouting Report (anonymous coach breaks down the Tigers)

“This is one of the best coaching jobs in the country this year with the number of injuries they’ve had on the mound. Huge kudos to him and Steve Smith for piecing that pitching staff together. Because when you look at their personnel and their stats, the guys that are talented—Will Holland, Steven Williams, Edouard Julien—those guys are all hitting .240 and not doing what anybody thought they would do. Losing Davis Daniel and Tanner Burns missing some time and Garrett Wade being a super-talented guy that’s not ready, they’ve done a great job. You’ve got to tip your cap. But you look on paper and you’re like this is not a super regional team. Probably hitting .260 as a team, pitching at a 4.50 ERA and average defensively.

“To me the guy that’s been super important for them is Cody Grenehill. That guy’s been pitching twice a weekend all year. He’ll come in and pitch three or four innings at a time. It’s really unique because it’s 90-plus percent fastballs. He’s an absolute bulldog. There’s something deceptive, it’s kind of a funky arm. He’s been really, really successful for them. He’s probably been the MVP. Tanner Burns gets all the accolades as he should, but Greenhill’s been kind of the quiet the MVP.

“Jack Owen is good but it’s fastball-changeup, a lot of arm side. Anybody would like to have him, and he went like 26 innings without giving up a run but his league numbers more solid average. He throws a bunch of strikes, but there’s not swing-and-miss. He’s pitching to contact. When you get later in the year that can be a little dicey. But he’s done a good job for them.

“It seems like it’s somebody different every game. It’s freshman Ryan Bliss getting a big hit, it’s Cody Scheffler getting a big hit, it’s Steven Williams hitting a home run. It really seems like that deal where it’s somebody different every day. They don’t have anybody hitting over .300 or anybody with double-digit home runs. They run a little bit. They’ve been efficient and they’ve gotten the big hit when they’ve needed it.

“You can’t deny (their postseason success). I don’t know if I can put my finger on (what it is). If I could I’d be replicating it. I think Butch is an extremely laid-back person and no matter what your personality is as a coach, there’s pros and cons to it. His demeanor is probably a real positive when you get to the big moment. Because he’s very chill, very laid back and that’s the mentality you want your kids to play with in the big moment.”

CMatt Scheffler, Jr.0.2660.3390.352199226
1BRankin Woley, Jr.0.2780.3360.393234340
2BRyan Bliss, Fr.0.2790.3700.372226337
3BEdouard Julien, So.0.2380.3710.422218848
SSWill Holland, Jr.0.2480.3780.416214930
LFJudd Ward, So.0.2880.3970.408233431
CFKasen Howell, Fr.0.2610.3360.304207026
RFSteven Williams, So.0.2410.3450.403216833
DHConnor Davis, Jr.0.2760.3330.418232733
LHPElliot Anderson, Jr.624.425927630
LHPJack Owen, So.422.4558.210550
RPBrooks Fuller, Fr.224.54435362
RPCody Greenhill, So.233.2353134211
Hunter Hollan (Photo By Wesley Hitt Getty Images)

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