Game Day: UNC at ECU Preview

Tar Heels look to rebound after N.C. State series

Looking to bounce back from being swept by N.C. State, North Carolina aims to win its second game over ECU in a week when it visits Clark-LeClair Stadium on Tuesday.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of the 6:30 p.m. matchup.

Matchup: UNC (13-9) at ECU (17-5)

UNC ranks: No. 21/-/- (Baseball America, D1Baseball, USA Today Coaches Poll)

ECU ranks: No. 8/11/12 (Baseball America, D1Baseball, USA Today Coaches Poll)


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Pitching matchup

TBA vs. RHP Trystan Kimmel (0-0, 6.10 ERA) 

ECU will start its fifth pitcher in as many midweek games in redshirt junior Trystan Kimmel. A junior college transfer, the right-hander made three starts last season, his first with the Pirates, but has been used exclusively out of the bullpen in seven games this season. His last appearance came in last week’s meeting with UNC, when he allowed one run on one hit over 1 2/3 innings.

The Tar Heels have yet to announce who will oppose Kimmel. One option could be redshirt freshman Caleb Cozart – who has a 4.70 ERA over four relief appearances, the most recent of which came on March 20 at Boston College. Another might be freshman Tanner Quick, who started at Liberty on March 16 and surrendered three runs and three hits in one inning.

Scouting the Pirates

The preseason favorite in the American Athletic Conference, ECU boasts one of the best pitching staffs in the country. The Pirates rank in the top 25 nationally in several categories: 12th in WHIP (1.16), 14th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.39), 22nd in strikeouts per nine innings (10.8), 24th in ERA (3.29) and 24th in hits allowed per nine innings (7.20).

At the plate, ECU is batting .286 and slugging .454 with 29 home runs. Second baseman Connor Norby (.429/.475/.725) is tied for fourth in the nation in hits with 39. He’s also one of three Pirates with an OPS over 1.000, along with catcher Seth Caddell (.313/.383/.639) and first baseman Josh Moylan (.333/.419/.603).

Numbers to know

  • UNC leads the all-time series with ECU, 57-30.

  • Redshirt sophomore Caleb Roberts is riding a team-best six-game hitting streak, the longest of his career. He’s 9-for-23 in that span with three two-hit games.

  • Freshman Hunter Stokely is 4-for-10 with two home runs and a double to start his career. He’s recorded a hit in all four games he’s played in.

  • Junior college transfer Justice Thompson has stolen 11 bases on 12 attempts. He swiped a season-high two bags on as many attempts against the Pirates last week.

  • The Tar Heels are second in the ACC with 28 home runs.

  • Redshirt junior Caden O’Brien has pitched 10 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings of relief.

  • Freshman catcher Tomas Frick has thrown out eight of 16 potential basestealers.