North Carolina (13-5, 3-2) vs. NC State (15-4, 4-2)
Omaha, Neb. – TD Ameritrade Park
ESPN2 (Karl Ravech, Kyle Peterson & Kaylee Hartung)
“[Carlos] Rodon is who he is. He’s one of the best in the country and a big time competitor. Kent Emanuel’s been known to match anybody… It’s a different venue. You look at the last game against N.C. State. That was just a classic 18 innings. We struck out 22 times. They struck out 23 times. I think the lights are going to better. The ballpark is a little bit bigger. When you’re trying to win a National Championship you’re going to have to beat someone like Carlos Rodon, and if it’s right off the bat, then it’s right off the bat.” – UNC associate head coach/pitching coach Scott Forbes
“Our ballclub has been a resilient one. Lot of injuries early. They persevered. You have to be resilient in this game. It's the only way you can get by. It toughens you up if you can weather some storms and they did. Very proud of this ball club. They represent so many players from N.C. State through the years that had a chance to get here and didn't quite make it. So we feel like we're here representing so many people, and we're very, very proud to be here.” – N.C. State head coach Elliott Avent
Avent’s N.C. State team reached the College World Series for the first time in 45 years with a thrilling seventeen-inning Super Regional victory over Rice to take the series in two games. The team improved their record in 2013 to 49-14 after a 2012 campaign that ended in a Super Regional defeat. Avent’s club has been tested yet unwavering throughout both Regional and Super Regional play. The team is undefeated with a 5-0 record. LSU, Indiana, Louisville and UCLA are also undefeated entering Omaha.
Since Mar. 31, the Wolfpack boast an impressive 31-4 record with their losses only coming to both North Carolina and Florida State twice. That record tops the list amongst the CWS field. N.C. State continued to find a way to win despite consistently falling behind. The team trailed in 19 out their last 29 contests and was able to find a way to victory in 15 of those outings. Two of those occurrences happened en route to punching their ticket to Omaha with late-inning rallies against Rice.
N.C. State is hitting .279 as a team (621-for-2224) with an on-base percentage of .363. The notable name to watch first and foremost for the Wolfpack is their leadoff hitter and sophomore shortstop, Trea Turner. Turner is batting .378 on the year and, other than top-end speed, doesn’t embody the typical attributes of a leadoff man. The Lake Worth, Fla. native is second on the team with seven homers and leads the team with a stout .571 slugging percentage. Another bat to look out for on the Wolfpack roster is first baseman Tarran Senay. Senay leads the team with 8 homeruns and has been hot as of late for the team. Jake Fincher is batting .327 on the season and leading the teams in hits with 83 and multiple hit games with 27.
Starting Pitcher: LHP Carlos Rodon (So., 9-2, 3.19 ERA, 118.1 IP, 170/42 K/BB)
N.C. State’s sophomore ace Carlos Rodon anchors the Wolfpack pitching staff. He followed up his dominant freshman campaign with a season that started off a bit uneasy but ended with a bang. Rodon has won 7 of his last 8 starts dating back to Apr. 20 against Georgia Tech. During that stretch, he’s had double figure strikeouts in five of his outings while tallying a 1.88 ERA. In career postseason play, Rodon owns a 1-0 record in his six starts, but sports a 1.17 ERA in 46 postseason innings, allowing just 23 hits, striking out 54 and walking 11.
The Tar Heels have had their struggles against the crafty lefty. In their last meeting on May 25, Rodon was throwing a no-hitter entering the seventh inning and pitched ten innings total. In fact, until that meeting, the Tar Heels hadn’t scored a run with the sophomore on the mound during their first 28 innings of facing one another. His career line against the Tar Heels is 32.1 IP, 19 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 10 BB, 43 K, 3 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 0.84 ERA.