Starting Pitching Advantage: Miami (FL)
Miami’s starters have been outstanding. Out of the three weekend starters of Bryan Radziewski, E.J. Encinosa, and Eric Whaley, Whaley has the highest ERA and it’s only a 3.00. North Carolina’s weekend starters led by Kent Emmanuel, who has a 2.86 ERA and a five to one strikeout to walk ratio, form formidable opposition to the Canes, but are not quite on the same level. Emmanuel, however, went down in the second inning of Saturday’s game against NC State.
Bullpen Advantage: Even
Despite a few minor hiccups, Daniel Miranda and Sam Robinson have been lights-out out of the Cane bullpen. When the starters hand the bullpen the lead through seven innings, it’s usually a done deal. UNC has a few bright spots out of the pen but nothing spectacular.
Catcher Advantage: North Carolina
Jacob Stallings of the Tar Heels is hitting .278 with two home runs and 26 RBI. It’s nothing out of this world, but it’s much better than what the Canes have gotten out of the catcher position as they’ve struggled to get any kind of production all year.
Infield Advantage: North Carolina
While Harold Martinez has done a good job of improving that once-dreadful average back up to over .300, we still have not seen the power numbers we expected from him. Zeke DeVoss has been playing second base as of late; he leads the team with 24 stolen bases. UNC has a stacked infield. When you go around the horn with the Tar Heels, you find their top four hitters. All four have an average of at least .313. Third baseman Colin Moran leads the team with seven home runs and 52 RBI.
Outfield Advantage: Even
Essentially all of North Carolina’s offense comes from their infield so their outfield is not quite up to par. Miami would have the advantage here with Melendres and DeVoss in their outfield, but DeVoss would now technically would be categorized under infield as he’s been playing the diamond dirt as of late.
North Carolina, despite being the No. 10 team in the nation, is coming off a difficult sweep to the NC State. Miami is 7-1 in road ACC games, and if you exclude the three-game sweep Georgia Tech handed them, their total ACC record would be 13-1. If Miami’s starting pitchers can go deep into their outings in Chapel Hill and shut down the middle of the Tar Heel lineup, the Canes could easily take this series.