The Beavers play game 1 of the National Championship series today at 4pm on ESPN. Don't miss it. If you have access to HDTV, then watch it in HD because its very cool in high-def.
On to the Tar Heels.
The Beavers are better set up from a pitching standpoint - unlike last season. We should be able to do just about anything we want with our rotation and relief staff. So who will we see from North Carolina?
Here are the starters from the last few games for UNC:
June 21 (2 days rest) Adam Warren - 6.0 IP, 82 Pitches
June 20 (3 days rest) Robert Woodard - 6.2 IP, 84 P
June 19 (4 days rest) Luke Putkonen - 7.0 IP, 95 P
June 17 (6 days rest) Alex White - 1.1 IP, 51 P
June 15 (8 days rest) Robert Woodard - 1.2 IP, 38 P
Adam Warren - 4.1 IP, 64 P
Looks like we will see Alex White in game one. He's a freshman right-hander out of Greenville, NC. He's 6-3 and 193 lbs. He is lets a lot of people on base with his 1.48 whip. He allows 4.5 walks per game and almost a hit an inning. However, he is also their best strikeout starter at 7.84 K/9. The K's probably helps him out quite a bit. Although his ERA of 4.74 isn't great. He got shelled by Rice in game 2, and that put the Heels in the losers bracket.
Alex White (6-6) - 4.74 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, .269 BAA, .742 OPS against
Game 2 starter will probably be either Luke Putkonen or Robert Woodard. Woodard didn't have a ton of pitches so he could probably pitch of four days rest. Plus, he pitched against the Beavs in game 2 last year. But who knows. It probably depends on who wins game one. I'd bet on Woodard, who is a senior, over the sophomore Putkonen.
Robert Woodard (11-2) - 3.19 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, .266 BAA, .671 OPS against
Luke Putkonen (8-1) - 4.44 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, .272 BAA, .719 OPS against
Both of these righty pitchers keep the walks down, have around 6.5 K/9, and have a fairly high amount of hits allowed (more than 1 per inning). But they are both solid. We need to win game 1 against the freshman to keep the pressure on.
The batting order for the Tar Heels will probably look something like this:
Reid Fronk, lf
Tim Fedroff, rf
Josh Horton, ss
Tim Federowicz, c
Dustin Ackley, 1b
Chad Flack, 3b
Kyle Seager, dh
Seth Williams, cf
Garrett Gore, 2b
They are the opposite of Fullerton and Irvine on the speed/power spectrum. They attempted 69 steals and were successful about 68% of the time. But they hit 70 HRs, 23 triples, and 139 doubles. With a team average of .316 and OPS of .859 they are definitely dangerous at the plate. Nothing we haven't seen before though.
Their top hitters are:
AVE OPS 2B 3B HR RBI BB SB RCWe just have to continue to get ahead of hitters and let the defense do their jobs because these guys don't strikeout much. If we can avoid free bases (BBs, HBP) we will be fine and should continue the great pitching.
Dustin Ackley .403 1.035 20 3 9 72 29 11 78
Josh Horton .335 .997 18 6 9 53 47 6 64
Reid Fronk .319 .974 19 5 11 56 39 1 59
Tim Fedroff .342 .897 7 5 5 40 19 5 40
We really need to get game one. I think if we can continue to roll we may just roll right to a sweep.
How do the Beavers prep for the CWS Finals? Check it out here: Omaha - Preparation for Championship Series