College World Series: #2 Rice vs #3 UNC

When: Thursday, June 21st, 7 PM EDT
Where: Rosenblatt Stadium, Omaha, NE
TV/Radio: ESPN2, 1360 AM(Chapel Hill)
Records: UNC 56-15; Rice 56-13

Honestly I think UNC has the momentum as much as anyone can have it at the CWS. They are coming off two straight games of giving up only two total runs. The Heels turned it around from the loss against Rice where they gave up 14 runs to hold the Owls in check for the second game. I also think the pressure really shifts onto Rice now who was sitting there one win away and came out rather flat. Add to that the fact this is the exact same scenario Rice faced a year ago. In 2006, Rice got Oregon State coming out of the loser’s bracket and proceeded to drop two straight to miss their chance at playing in the title series. If UNC can post a lead early it might rattle the Owls. That being said, both these teams are experienced and understand what it takes to win at this level.

Here are the pitching probables from the N&O:

NORTH CAROLINA

Adam Warren, Sophomore, RHP, 11-0, 1.95 ERA

UNC’s mid-week starter in the regular season got the win Friday against Mississippi State. In 4 1/3 relief innings, he gave up no runs and struck out four.

RICE

Matt Langwell, Junior, RHP, 8-1, 2.11 ERA

Langwell has pitched only 1 2/3 innings in this CWS, giving up four runs on five hits. But he has two wins in the NCAA tournament, with a 3.00 ERA.

On paper this is a heck of a matchup. I like that Warren is going for UNC and that he has had five days to rest since he shutdown MSU on Friday.

Also, from ESPN.com, Rice has been somewhat inept offensively in game which would put them into the CWS title series:

Rice has now scored a grand total of one run in its last three games with a chance to clinch a spot in the CWS championship series. The Owls were beaten 5-0 and 2-0 by Oregon State last year.

I hope that does not mean they are due for a big offensive explosion.

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