Junior ace pitcher Kent Emanuel was the last man on the mound in the top-seeded North Carolina baseball team’s 5-4 victory against South Carolina Tuesday — the one that sent the team to the College World Series.
And the All-ACC pitcher, who earned his first career save in that game, will be first on the mound when UNC faces off against Tobacco Road rival N.C. State in its first game of double-elimination play in Omaha, Neb.
In a tournament filled with unknown opponents, drawing a well-known foe could prove advantageous to the Tar Heel coaching staff.
“(The coaches) were excited,” coach Mike Fox said. “Because they don’t have to do a scouting report.”
But UNC will still face its share of challenges, considering Emanuel won’t be the only first-team All-ACC pitcher starting Sunday at 3 p.m. The Wolfpack has a top-notch ace of its own in left-handed Carlos Rodon.