Game Day: UNC vs. Campbell Preview

Tar Heels look to get back on track against Camels

Riding a five-game losing streak, North Carolina plays its final game before the final exam break Tuesday night when the Tar Heels host Campbell at Boshamer Stadium.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of the 6 p.m. tilt.

Matchup: UNC (20-21) vs. Campbell (23-13)

UNC ranks: No. -/-/- (Baseball America, D1Baseball, USA Today Coaches Poll)

Campbell ranks: No. -/-/- (Baseball America, D1Baseball, USA Today Coaches Poll)


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Pitching matchup


After using redshirt freshman Caleb Cozart (0-0, 8.47 ERA) as an opener last Tuesday against Charlotte, the Tar Heels could employ the same strategy against Campbell. Other starting options could include redshirt sophomore Connor Ollio (0-1, 3.80 ERA) – who threw 34 pitches in two innings at Notre Dame – or redshirt freshman Max Alba (2-3, 6.61 ERA) – who hasn’t pitched since giving up three solo homers in 1 1/3 innings against Coastal Carolina on April 20.

The Camels have used four starters over their six midweek games. Right-hander Cade Boxrucker (0-1, 10.61 ERA) leads the team with three such starts, but the last of those came on March 23. Fellow righties Zach Neto (4-0, 4.00 ERA), Fred Sisco (1-0, 2.77 ERA) and Jack Yusko (0-0, 7.20 ERA) have started Campbell’s last three midweek games in that order.

Scouting the Camels

The two-time reigning Big South champion, Campbell was voted the league favorite in the Big South preseason coaches poll, due in large part to the return of ace Cam Cowan. Unfortunately, Cowan only pitched once before suffering a season-ending injury. Still, the Camels are near the top of the Big South heading into the final month of the regular season, just three games behind first-place USC Upstate.

Campbell finds itself in this position because of its stellar offense. The Camels are in the top 40 nationally in several offensive categories – including scoring (third, 8.9 runs per game); slugging percentage (fourth, .520); on-base percentage (fourth, .424); batting average (seventh, .310); and stolen bases (tied for 15th, 67). They feature four players with an OPS over 1.000: Connor Denning (.376/.484/.784), Neto (.420/.496/.756), Matthew Christian (.368/.411/.768) and Spencer Packard (.370/.497/.654).

Despite Cowan’s absence, Campbell’s pitching staff ranks 88th nationally in ERA (4.49). Walks are a bit of an issue, as the team ranks 191st in walks allowed per nine innings (4.80).

Numbers to know

  • UNC leads the all-time series with Campbell, 36-10.

  • Ranked No. 46 in the RPI, the Tar Heels have played the country's fourth-hardest schedule, according to Their 24 games against Quadrant 1 opponents are tied with LSU and Virginia for the most nationally. They’re 8-16 in those games.

  • UNC is fourth in the ACC and tied for 29th nationally with 52 home runs. Those are the most by a Tar Heel team through 41 games since the 2002 squad hit 70.

  • Sixth-year senior Dallas Tessar is slashing .385/.492/.769 with four homers, eight doubles and 14 runs scored over the last 15 games.

  • Over his last 14 games, graduate transfer Justice Thompson is slashing .345/.375/.466 with 10 RBIs and seven multi-hit games.

  • Thompson has stolen 14 bases on 16 attempts this season.

  • Since returning from a seven-game absence due to COVID-19 protocols, redshirt sophomore Angel Zarate is 10-for-24 with a homer, two doubles, five runs scored and seven RBIs.

  • Redshirt junior Gage Gillian has recorded a 1.41 ERA and a .75 WHIP in 32 innings. He’s struck out 31 batters while walking five and holding opponents to a .171 average.

  • Tomas Frick has thrown out 14 of 35 potential basestealers (40%), the most by a UNC freshman catcher since Tim Federowicz threw out 14 in 2006. The only ACC catchers with a higher caught stealing percentage are Louisville’s Henry Davis – who has thrown out 12 of 25 potential basestealers (48%) – and Florida State’s Matheu Nelson – who has thrown out 13 of 26 (50%).