by Knox Bardeen
The Miami Hurricanes (26-12, 13-4 ACC) will travel to Chapel Hill, N.C. to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels (31-8, 12-6 ACC) at Boshamer Stadium for a weekend series beginning on Friday. All three broadcasts can be seen on CSS.
The Tar Heels are ranked in every major poll, as high as No. 10 in the USA TodayESPN Coaches Poll, but enter the series against Miami having lost three of their last four games. North Carolina beat Coastal Carolina, 8-3, on Tuesday, but was swept last weekend against ACC rival N.C. State on the road.
Miami has won 11 of its last 12 games; the only blemish in the month of April to the Hurricanes schedule is an April 17 loss at Maryland. The Hurricanes arent unanimously present in every college baseball poll, but are ranked No. 24 in the USA TodayESPN Coaches Poll.
In Fridays game, set to begin at 7 p.m. ET, North Carolina will send right-handed senior Patrick Johnson (6-1, 3.34 ERA) to the mound to face Miamis freshman lefty Bryan Radziewski (6-2, 2.96 ERA). Johnson endured defeat for the first time this season last Friday when North Carolina State snapped his nine-game unbeated streak. Radziewski is a fireballer with a 90-plus mph fastball and has struck out 54 batters in just 48 23 innings.
Freshman Shane Taylor (2-2, 2.92 ERA) will pitch for the Tar Heels on Saturday (first pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET) and will be opposed by Miami sophomore Eric Whaley (5-2, 3.00 ERA).Taylor will be making his first start of the season on Saturday after appearing in 16 games as a reliever. Whaley has started nine times this year and has faced more batters than anyone else on the Hurricanes staff.
Sundays finale (first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET) pits North Carolina freshman Kent Emanuel (5-1, 2.86 ERA) against Miami sophomore E.J. Encinosa (3-2, 2.45 ERA). Emanuel hasnt started since his April 16 loss against N.C. State where he only recorded four outs, the shortest outing of his career. He did make a mid-week relief appearance to pick up a win against Coastal Carolina. Encinosa leads the team by holding opposing batters to a .184 batting average, a figure that ranks fourth among ACC pitchers. Encinosas 2.45 earned run average also ranks him seventh in the ACC.
Miami and North Carolina have played 43 times throughout history with Miami leading the series, 22-20-1.
Even though the Tar Heels have lost four of their last eight games, they have not been beaten at home in 19 games, a streak that began on February 27 against Seton Hall. North Carolina is 21-1 at home this year.
North Carolina freshman third baseman Colin Moran leads the ACC with 52 runs batted in. Hes also tied for third place with seven home runs.
If the Tar Heels are ahead after the sixth inning, its a good sign for the team. North Carolina is 27-0 this year when it takes a lead into the seventh inning.
Miami starting pitcher Bryan Radziewski strikes out a lot of batters (54 strikeouts in 48 22 innings), but hes also thrown nine wild pitches this season and beaned eight batters.
Miami closer Daniel Miranda leads the ACC with 11 saves this season and is tied for seventh in the country.
Miamis Zeke DeVoss is a terror on the basepaths, and is incredibly adept at getting on base. DeVoss ranks third in the ACC and ninth in the country with 35 walks and has a .323 batting average when he does swing the bat. Once on base, DeVoss leads the ACC and ranks fourth in the country with 25 stolen bases. Hes successful on 68 percent of his stolen base attempts.