It’s spring/summer/false summer time here in North Carolina. We all know our weather has many personalities here and we prepare as best as we can. I’m asking the weather gods to bless us with a weekend without rain in the forecast, please.
Another sign of the seasonal transition is college baseball regular season winding down and now it’s time for the NCAA College Baseball Tournament. We have 64 teams from around the country fighting for a chance to be crowned national champion at the College Baseball World Series.
Our great state has eight teams – Wake Forest University, Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, Campbell University, East Carolina University, University of North Carolina at Wilmington and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte – hoping to lift that NCAA trophy in Omaha, Nebraska, this June.
Wake Forest University is the top-ranked team in the entire country with some of the best pitching in college baseball. The Demon Deacons are coming off one of their best seasons in program history with a strong bullpen and power batters throughout the lineup. History is against Wake Forest with the top-ranked team having not won this tournament since 1999. The ACC has only had two winners in the history of the tournament with Virginia in 2015 and Wake Forest in 1955.
N.C. State University makes its return to the show after being robbed last season of a tournament spot. To make things worse the Wolfpack were robbed of a chance to play for a national championship due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the program. I would not want to be the first team facing the Wolfpack after what they have experienced the past two seasons. Sadly in-state school Campbell will be the Wolfpack’s first opponent when the tournament kickoff. Campbell is coming off a great season with the second-most wins in program history. The NCAA are haters of our state’s success at baseball just like in basketball.
In more hypocrisy from the NCAA Duke will face in-state opponent University of North Carolina Wilmington. Duke finished fifth this season in the ACC coming off a tough conference schedule with lots of ranked teams. UNC-Wilmington comes into the postseason with a record of 34-21 and winners of their conference baseball tourney. This is the Seahawks’ first tournament appearance since 2019.
UNC-Chapel Hill will kick off its tournament run against Iowa in the Terre Haute, Indiana regional. The Diamond Heels will not face an in-state opponent in this region but will possibly have the opportunity to face 14th-ranked Indiana before the dust is settled. East Carolina University travels across state lines to Virginia to play in the Charlottesville Regional. The Pirates’ first opponent will be Oklahoma. This is the first meeting between the two programs on the diamond.
UNC-Charlotte won their first Conference USA Tournament in program history after defeating Dallas Baptist University. With the win, the 49ers earned an automatic bid into the postseason. UNC-Charlotte will face the University of Tennessee in the Clemson Regional.
Check the NCAA Baseball Tournament webpage for a full list of game times and dates. Good luck to all of our teams representing North Carolina and one of yall bring home that trophy!