Chapel Hill Regional Preview: A look at LSU baseball’s opponents in the NCAA Tournament

LSU baseball heads into the Chapel Hill Regional on a hot streak. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

LSU baseball officially broke the trend of former champions missing the NCAA Tournament the following year when it was announced the Tigers would be the No. 2 seed in the Chapel Hill Regional on Monday.

After a strong SEC Tournament run that saw it finish as runner ups to No. 1 overall seed Tennessee, LSU (40-21) will now have a shot at either Jay Johnson’s former team Arizona or a chance to host a super regional if it makes it out of the Chapel Hill Regional.

LSU will first have to make it past host North Carolina (42-12), No. 3 seed Wofford (41-18) and No. 4 seed Long Island (33-23) though.

LSU’s matchup with Wofford will be the first time the two schools have ever met in baseball. Wofford sits at No. 46 in RPI and is coming into the regional on the back of winning the Southern Conference Tournament. The Terriers come into the regional having won eight of their last 10 games.

Wofford is led by its potent offense. It’s third in the country in batting average (.340) and No. 2 in the country in runs per game (10.2). Wofford has seven players hitting .320 or better including five players batting over .362.

Marshall Toole leads the team with a .383 batting average, ten triples and 155 total bases. Tyler Hare leads the ream with 16 homers and Dixon Black leads the way with 75 RBI.

Wofford’s pitching staff has a 5.75 ERA and holds opponents to a .274 batting average. Zac Cowan is the team’s ace with a 3.55 era and a 9-2 record. Cowan was named D1Baseball’s Pitcher of the Week for his performances last week during the conference tournament. He pitched 13.2 innings in two starts and allowed five hits, five runs, two walks and struck out 13.

North Carolina comes into the regional as the top ranked school outside of the SEC and the No. 4 overall seed. The Tar Heels were knocked out of the ACC Tournament by Wake Forest in 12 innings.

North Carolina is batting .311 this season with 105 homers and puts up over nine runs per game. Gavin Gallaher leads the way with a .355 batting average and is one of six players batting over .300 this season for the Tar Heels. Vance Honeycutt leads the team with 22 homers and is followed by Parks Harber who has 20. Casey Cook leads the team with 76 RBI.

North Carolina has a 4.19 ERA and holds opponents to a .255 batting average. Jason DeCaro is the team’s ace with a 3.80 ERA and Shea Sprague is the Tar Heels’ No. 2 pitcher with a 4.02 ERA.

LIU made the NCAA Tournament after winning the Northeast Conference Tournament. The Sharks had to beat Sacred Hearts twice in the championship final to claim the conference title and a postseason berth.

LIU has a .272 batting average with 68 homers and is lead by Seth Surrett. Surrett has a .332 batting average and is one of three players batting over .300. Jake Mastillo leads the team with 67 RBI and 16 homers.

The Sharks have a 6.31 ERA and hold opponents to a .293 batting average. Garrett Yawn leads the team with a 4.08 ERA in 90.1 innings pitched. Dominic Pieto is second on the team with a 6.50 ERA.  

The Tigers will play Wofford in the first round of the regional on Friday at 11 a.m. The full schedule of the Chapel Hill Regional is listed below:

Friday

Game 1: LSU vs. Wofford – 11 a.m., ESPNU

Game 2: UNC vs. Long Island – 5 p.m.

Saturday

Game 3: Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2 – 11 a.m.

Game 4: Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2 – 4 p.m.

Sunday

Game 5: Winner of Game 3 vs. Loser of Game 4 – 11 a.m.

Game 6: Winner of Game 5 vs. Winner of Game 4 – 5 p.m.

Monday

Game 7: (If necessary) Winner of Game 6 vs. Loser of Game 6 – Time TBA

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Will Nickel

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