The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday September 29th

Three things to watch as UNC baseball gears up for showdown against Clemson

The North Carolina Tar Heels defeated NC State University in their first of three baseball games on Friday, April 14, 2017. The Tar Heels won 7-2.
Buy Photos The North Carolina Tar Heels defeated NC State University in their first of three baseball games on Friday, April 14, 2017. The Tar Heels won 7-2.

Here’s what to know about tomorrow’s marquee matchup at Boshamer Stadium.

Striking similarities

Through 42 games, UNC is 33-9, and the Tigers are 34-8. Both have identical ACC records of 16-5.

North Carolina has one edge in ACC play ­— it’s won all seven of its series, including sweeps of Florida State and Boston College. UNC also won two of three in its opening series against No. 8 Virginia.

Clemson’s conference record isn’t completely spotless. Facing the same situation as UNC, the Tigers lost two of three against the Seminoles. But Clemson has one more sweep to its name (3) than North Carolina (2).

Clash of pitchers

J.B. Bukauskas has the upper hand in Friday’s pitching battle — this has almost become a given.

UNC’s junior righty is 7-0 this year with an ERA of 1.53 in 10 appearances. He ranks sixth nationally with 89 strikeouts this season.

Four Clemson pitchers have started at least ten games. Among them, senior lefty Pat Krall (2.62) and junior lefty Charlie Barnes (2.83) have the lowest ERAs.

Gianluca Dalatri is the only other Tar Heel with double-digit starts. The first-year right exploded onto the scene with 15 strikeouts against Radford, and he hasn’t relinquished his spot as the Saturday starter since.

In terms of team ERA, both teams are within the top 12 in the nation. UNC’s 2.68 mark puts it at No. 6, and Clemson sits at No. 12 with a 3.06 average.

Home-run hullaballoo

Neither team is a stranger to home runs.

Boshamer Stadium’s trees have taken a beating this year. UNC has hit 42 home runs so far — and the cluster of pines in right field has been the area of choice at home.

Junior Logan Warmoth leads UNC with 62 hits, 14 doubles and seven home runs this year on a .348 batting average.

Junior Brian Miller (.322 average, 58 hits, 11 doubles) and first-year Ashton McGee (.309 average, 43 hits, five home runs) have been consistent sources of offense for North Carolina.

Clemson’s most recognizable name is Seth Beer — for good reason.

Last year, Beer was nothing short of outstanding. The numbers speak for themselves: a .369 average, 70 RBIs and a whopping 18 home runs.

That won him some hardware, too. No first-year had ever won ACC Player of the Year or the Dick Howser Trophy, given to the national player of the year, entering 2016. Beer did both.

He has 12 of Clemson’s 46 home runs this season. Junior Chris Williams is also in double digits with 10 on the year. Five Tigers have tallied 40 or more hits.

This isn’t just the Beer show. Clemson has a ton of offensive talent, and Friday’s game should be a great one.



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