UNC To Host NCAA Baseball Regional

This Weekend, the ACC champion North Carolina baseball team will be hosting an NCAA Regional at Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels will play a round robin, double-elimination series with East Carolina, Western Carolina, and Jacksonville to determine who will advance to the best-of-3 Super Regionals one week later. UNC’s first game will be against Jacksonville on Friday Night.

Tickets sold out in one day to what could be the last event in Boshamer Stadium before its major offseason renovation.

Six other teams from the ACC made the NCAA Tournament bracket, including the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, who barely made the ACC Tournament but made it to the finals. The seven teams are North Carolina, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Miami (FL), Florida State, Clemson, and Virginia. Georgia Tech, who was ranked earlier in the season and won an ACC Tournament game against the Tar Heels, was left out of the tournament.

I ‘ll be at Boshamer for the games. Stay tuned for a preview of UNC’s postseason run.

ACC Baseball Championship Live Blog: UNC vs. Wake Forest

It’s the triumphant return of Tar Heel Mania! Today UNC plays Wake Froest in their first appearance in the ACC Baseball Championship game since 1990. Freshman Alex White had a phenomenal day of pitching on Saturday in leading UNC to victory over Virginia, 4-0. Winning today’s game would mean not only the ACC Title, but likely the ability to host both a regional and Super Regional at Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels lost their two top pitchers from last year (Andrew Miller and Daniel Bard, but they still have a good pitching staff, and their high powered offense remained virtually intact from 2006, when they came within one win of the National Championship.

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1:10 pm: Well, that was quick. Three up, three down, as Wake Forest retires UNC’s first three hitters. Unbelievably, Wake is considered the home team in this game.

1:13 pm: UNC 3B Chad Flack can’t handle the grounder, and Ben Terry gets on base for wake to start the bottom of the first.

Sophomore Luke Putkonen is pitching for the Tar Heels. Apparently his only official loss this season is to Wake Forest.

1:14 pm: Wake delivers the sacrifice bunt, sending Terry to second. One out.

1:15 pm: Wow, Putkonen is delivering some fast pitches tonight. His fastballs are averaging 94 mph.

1:16 pm: Slugger Ben Terry grounds out to Horton, but Terry advances to third with two outs.

1:17 pm: The next batter got beaned, putting runners on the corners with two outs.

1:20 pm: The ball gets by the catcher Federowicz, and Terry comes in to score. 1-0, Wake.

1:22 pm: The next batter fouls off several pitches before grounding out to Horton to end the inning. Wake leads, 1-0 after the first innning. TheDeacons playing very good fundamentals in the game so far.

1:24 pm: Federowicz leads off the 2nd inning, Hitting a line drive into left field and getting an easy base hit.

1:25 pm: Horton hits it deep but Wake catches it at the right field warning track. One down.

1:27 pm: Flack tries to bunt, but is thrown out easily. Federowicz advances to second.

1:28 pm: Another flyout retires the side at the top of the 2nd. Wake hasn’t needed many pitches at all to get rid of UNC’s offense.

1:29 pm: Whoa. In two innings I have seen a grand total of three commercials. In a way it’s refreshing, but I was kind of hoping for a few small breaks.

1:30 pm: 2B Garrett Gore makes a great backhanded catch of a grounder and throws off balance to first base. One out.

1:33 pm: After quickly disposing of the next batter, Ochletree gets plunked by Putkonen.

I’ve heard the color commentator say that 1) Wake averages two hit batsmen per game, and 2) that’s its a part of their offense. Why would getting hit be a strategy?

1:35 pm: Putkonen gets the first strikeout of the game to end the inning. 1-0, Wake after 2.

1:39pm: Wake’s starting pitcher, Charlie Mellies, doesn’t have strong stuff (his fastball tops out at 84 mph), but his location is giving the Tar Heel batters fits. He got rid of the bottom of UNC’s order just with location; the got rid of two batter in two pitches. We go to the bottom of the 3rd inning.

1:44 pm: Putkonen walks Hood, and slugger Allen Dykstra will be at the bat with 1 out and a man on first.

1:46 pm: Dykstra pops out to Gore into foul territory. That ball almost sailed into the stands, but Gore makes a good play.

1:47 pm: The next batter hits one deep into right field, but Fedroff is there to make the catch and retire the side. 1-0 Wake after three innings, and the one run was off a wild pitch. We may have a pitcher’s duel on our hands.

1:51 pm: Gore and Federowicz get on base, and Josh Horton, our best hitter from 2006, is at bat with one out.

1:53 pm: Horton flies out deep to center field, but Gore tags to third base. Two down, runners on the corners, Chad Flack at the plate.

1:54 pm: Flack hits a line drive base hit over the third baseman, and Gore scores easily. Federowicz to third. The game is now tied, 1-1.

1:55 pm: Fedroff grounds out easily to Mellies to end the top of the 4th innig, but the game is now tied.

We may be the road team, but at least that means we’re wearing our very stylish Henley shirts.

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1:58 pm: Putkonen strikes out the first batter in the bottom of the fourth.

2:00 pm: Putkinen gets another strike out before a groundout ends the 4th inning, and Wake is not happy about the second strikeout call. Still, the game remains tied 1-1 after 4 innings.

2:03 pm: apparently, Wake’s Charlie Mellies has only pitched 11 innings all season. The Deacons were hoping to only get 5 innings out of him. He has certainly made the most out of his opportunity so far.

2:05 pm: Reid Fronk gets a base hit with two outs. The Deacon bullpen is already starting to warm up, anticipating Mellies’ departure from the game. He retires the side with an easy groundout. I would keep him in for at least one more inning if I were Wake.

2:10 pm: Another Wake batter gets plunked, but Putkonen retires the side easily. The game is tied at 1 after 5 innings.

2:14 pm: Brad Kledzik is in for Charlie Mellies. Wake hardly misses a beat defensively, getting two quick outs. But Josh Horton hits one deep into the right-center field gap for a double.

2:16 pm: What’s wrong with Chad Flack? Last year he made all the big hits; now he can’t hit a beach ball. He strikes out to end the top of the sixth.

Mellies’ final line: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R.

2:19 pm: Surprisingly, Ben Terry’s leadoff hit is Wake’s inly hit of the game. Putkonen is really pitching well.

2:24 pm: Putkonen continues his one hitter, retiring the side to end the 6th inning. The game remains tied at 1.

2:30 pm: The Wake shortstop can;t handle the grounder, Seth williams gets to first and Kyle Seager advances to third. Kledzik is pulled in the 7th with 1 out for Eric Niesen.

2:31 pm: TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS!…

2:34 pm: Wake’s 3rd baseman bobbles the grounder from Fronk. He manages to throw him out at first, but Seager scores easily to give UNC a 2-1 lead in the 7th. WHOOOOOO!!!

2:36 pm: Neisen strikes out Gore, but UNC has their first lead of the game, and Petkonen is still pitching for the Heels, and with the 8th and 9th innings looming, We could be reaching the time for Andrew Carignan to shut the door on this game.

2:42 pm: Andy Goff fouls off an innumerable amount of pitches before finally striking out.

Matt Danford is warming up in the bullpen.

2:43 pm: Ocheltree hits a line drive into left field for Wake’s second hit of the game.

2:45 pm: Petkonen fans another batter for the 2nd out. Ben Terry is up next.

2:46 pm: a wild pitch bounces off Federowicz’s mask, and Ocheltree gets into scoring position.

2:47 pm: Putkonen hits yet another batter, putting Terry on base and runners on first and second with two outs. Putkonen has pitched well, but the hit batsmen have been his main problem today.

2:49 pm: Dustin Hood gets a hit past Horton. The left fielder throws home, but the umpire calls Ocheltree safe. The game is tied at 2. That call was crap. The throw was on time, and Federowicz tageed him before touching home plate. It was close, but he was out.

2:51 pm: Luke Petkonen is out of the game, and Matt Danford will come in to pitch for the Tar Heels. Two outs, and the bases are loaded.

2:55 pm: Willie Fox hits one into right-center fields, but Seth Williams makes the catch to end the inning. 2-2, after 7 innings.

2:57 pm: Dustin Ackley is walked to lead the 8th inning. He nearly steals second, but Federowicz foul tips the pitch, forcing Ackley back to first.

2:59 pm: After two tries, Ackley steals second, but Federowicz strikes out. Josh Horton is up next.

3:01 pm: Josh Horton hits a line drive deep into right field. Ochletree misses it completely, Ackley scores easily, and Horton gets a triple! UNC leads, 3-2 in the 8th! WHOOOOOOO!!!

3:02 pm: Wake gets a big break. Flack misses the suicide squeeze, and Horton is tagged out easily. Two out, nobody on.

3:04 pm: Flack ground out to short, but UNC now leads 3-2, heading into the bottom of the 8th.

3:06 pm: Danford is out, Andrew Carignan is in. He is by far the best closer in the ACC, and Wake will have a hard time trying to get back in the game.

3:11 pm: Wake threatens to tie the game, but Carignan gets out of the 8th with the 3-2 lead intact. We now head into the 9th inning.

3:13 pm: Fedroff, what the hell were you thinking swinging at that pitch? It wasn;t anywhere NEAR the strike zone!

3:15 pm: Ellis retires the side easily for Wake, and now it’s up to UNC’s pitching to finish this game and get the win.

3:20 pm: After figthing off several pitches, Ocheltree gets a base hit to start the 9th inning. Wake brings in a pinch hitter to bunt.

3:21 pm: Eric Williams gets the sac bunt, Ocheltree goes to second, and Terry is at the plate.

3:24 pm: Terry grounds to Horton, and he throws out Ocheltree at third. Terry is at firs with two outs, and Dustin Hood is Wake’s last chance.

3:25 pm: Hood bunts , but it goes right to Carignan, and he throws him out to end the game. UNC wins, 3-2, and wins the 2007 ACC Baseball Championship! WHOOOOOOO!!!

UNC will host a Regional at Boshamer next week, and I will try to be at the games. Looking forward to the NCAA Tournament, and I hope we can make it back to Omaha.

Coach Mike Fox gets the Gatorade shower in front of the camera….sweet.

 

 

 

Andrew Miller Called Up To The Majors

Andrew Miller was the the Tar Heels ace in 2006, helping to lead UNC to the finals of the College World Series. After his illustrious college career he was drafted 6th overall in the MLB draft by the Detroit Tigers. He played some relief in August and September, but was left off the playoff roster.

On Friday, Miller will get his first chance at staring for the Majors. He has been called up from AA Erie and placed into the starting rotation while Jeremy Bonderman has been placed on the DL. He gets his first start in interleague play, as Detroit plays the St. Louis Cardinals in a rematch of the 2006 World Series. Go Tigers!

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114 Days to Football Season…

Here’s a video of the Tar Heel Football team in happier times. in 2004, John Bunting was on the chopping block. The Tar Heels were 3-4, 2-2 in the ACC, and had just been annihilated by Utah on the road. Undefeated and #3 ranked Miami came to Chapel Hill on October 30, and on paper it looked like we were going to get steamrolled. But games aren’t played on paper…

118 Days To Football Season…

I can’t wait for college football to start again. Hopefully it won’t pan out like last year. This video captures the exact sentiment of UNC football fans in 2006.

We have some very good recruits coming in, and last years class will no longer be redshirted. With luck, we can finish a whopping 5-7!

Steve Wojciechowski Enjoying Offseason As a Part Time Veterinarian

As an alum and a die-hard fan of North Carolina, I will blindly root against any of Duke’s on-court or on-field activities. But even I have to admit, the Dookies are model citizens off the court.

Take the example of Duke assistant coach and former point guard Steve Wojciechowski. After the Blue Devil’s down year and early exit from the tournament, I would have forgiven him if went to the film room, poring over game films to find out what went wrong. He could have gone on the recruiting trail to find new players to rebuild his proud program. Hell, he could have vented his frustrations out smashing an inanimate object. But being the model citizen that he is, Wojo decided to begin his offseason by giving back to his community. Less than a week after the heartbreaking loss to VCU, Wojo was in a veterinary clinic for exotic pets in Raleigh, North Carolina, working several shifts and taking care of various animals rarely seen on Earth. We have manged to obtain two photos of his volunteer work.

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Here, we see Steve Wojciechowski providing a routine checkup to Rodrigo, a young bull. Since the vet staff complained of his constipation, Wojo is checking for colon polyps. Rodrigo doesn’t seem to mind.

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In this picture, Wojo is in the middle of a delicate procedure, using sterile plastic tweezers to remove a brain tumor from the head of a giant parrot. The parrot has been briefly incapacitated by watching a “Flavor of Love” marathon while Wojciechowski removes the tumor without causing any pain.

In an era of cynicism toward athletes, it’s nice to see when an sports figure has a direct positive impact on others. Even if it’s a Dookie.

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