Super Regional Preview: UNC vs. Arkansas

North Carolina’s season has been on an upward trajectory for over a month now – from fighting to make the ACC tournament to hosting a super regional. Its path featured winning its last three regular-season series, sweeping the tournament with a 4-0 record on way to an ACC title, earning a top-16 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, and fighting through the losers’ bracket and coming out on the other side a regional champion.

That part was all controlled by the Tar Heels. To earn a super regional host, however, that required a bit of luck. Arkansas, following a 38-15 regular season and 0-2 effort in the SEC tournament, was positioned as a No. 2 seed in the Stillwater Regional with No. 7-overall seed Oklahoma State. The Razorbacks, last year’s No. 1-overall seed that fell to NC State in the super regionals, went 3-1 in the Stillwater regional to upset the Cowboys. The victory meant UNC would be playing at Boshamer Stadium at least two more times.

Below is a preview of the Razorbacks and the 10th-ever super regional for both teams…

Arkansas Resume

41-19 overall record. 18-12 in the SEC. 3-3 in the postseason. No. 28 RPI, according to warrennolan.com, with a 16-14 record against top-50 RPI teams. Best wins: Vanderbilt (1 win), Auburn (2), TAMU (1), Florida (1), LSU (3), OkSt (2), Ole Miss (2), Alabama (1), Kentucky (3).

Arkansas has series wins over Auburn and Ole Miss, which are both super regional teams. It also swept LSU during the regular season, a team that was inches away from upsetting Southern Miss and making a super regional.

Location-wise, the Razorbacks are 9-9 in true road games and 13-12 away from their home field.

UNC P Max Carlson, Arkansas C Michael Turner (Photo: Getty)

For comparison purposes, UNC is 4th in RPI with a 21-16 record against top-50 RPI teams. It is 33-7 at home and has not lost two games in a three-game stretch since being swept by Virginia on April 24. The Tar Heels are 19-3 in their last 22 games. The Razorbacks are 10-10 since April 24.

Team Comparison

Batting…

UNC: 6.95 runs/game, .288 avg, .386 OBA, .485 slugging, 23.3 K%, 12.7 BB%, 100 HR
Ark: 7.13 runs/game, .272 avg, .381 OBA, .483 slugging, 23.9 K%, 14.8 BB%, 98 HR

Pitching…

UNC: 4.16 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 9.2 K/9, 3.6 BB/9
Ark: 4.14 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 10.5 K/9, 4.0 BB/9

Fielding…

UNC: .974, 60 errors
Ark: .981, 41 errors

Top Hitters

7 Cayden Wallace (So., 3B): .299/.394/.561, 15 HRs, 56 RBIs
9 HRs in his last 11 games

24 Braydon Webb (Gr., CF): .274/.420/.536, 14 HR, 38 RBI
21.2BB%
9-for-10 on stolen base attempts this season

12 Michael Turner (Gr., C): .310/.382/.504, 9 HR, 48 RBI
Stillwater Regional Most Outstanding Player
8-for-18, 9 RBIs, 7 runs, 2 HRs

Top Pitchers

45 Connor Noland (Sr., RHP): 16 starts, 6-5 record, 4.13 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 9.5 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, Arkansas’ Friday Starter
33 Hagen Smith (Fr., LHP): 14 starts, 6-2 record, 4.89 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 10.2 K/9, 5.4 BB/9
28 Kole Ramage (R-Sr., RHP): 28 appearances, 4.22 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 11.2 K/9, 3.3 BB/9

Tournament History

UNC and Arkansas are two storied college baseball programs. It is the 10th super regional for each team. The Razorbacks are 6-3 in supers while the Tar Heels are 7-2. They have made 10 College World Series appearances, including six trips to Omaha since 2004 and four trips since 2012.

This season was Arkansas’ 20th tournament appearance since the 64-team format started in 1999.

Meeting History

The lone contest between UNC and Arkansas was in the 1989 College World Series. The Razorbacks eliminated the Tar Heels by a score of 7-3. Vance Honeycutt’s father, Bob, was on that UNC team.

Schedule

Saturday, June 11 @ 11:00 AM ET, ESPN
Sunday, June 12 @ 1:00 PM ET, ESPN/ESPN2
Monday, June 13 (if necessary) @ TBD, TBD

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