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Off the cuff: Carolina baseball has gotten to the point that anything short of a World Series finals appearance and perhaps even a World Series championship will be a disappointment. The Tar Heels are still hungry since they have not won the title yet but they have become the hunted because of recent success.

The Tar Heels have always been good in baseball but Coach Mike Fox, who I covered as a sports journalist when he was head coach at N.C. Wesleyan, has taken the program to a new level. And, he's done it with a lot of homegrown players. Fox, who played second base for the 1978 UNC team which made it to the World Series, has 26 native North Carolinians on the team and five others from the South.

Mike Roberts, who coached when I was in school at UNC and is the father of Orioles' second baseman Brian Roberts, was a very good coach and his teams were fun to watch. I'd never seen so many squeeze plays and trick plays. But he had a tendency to recruit many, if not most of his players, from the Northeast.

It's nice to now see a bunch of Southern boys on the team. As Charlie Daniels sang, The South's gonna do it again. And I do think Carolina will make it to the World Series again - they have the pitching to take them a long way and they have the experience to get there. Will they be able to get over the hump? Check back over the next few weeks to see - and get out and watch a game. Unfortunately, unlike with basketball,TV coverage is sparce.

2008 UNC baseball
The Schedule/Results
The Roster

Heels on a winning streak
Carolina baseball goes for best start in school history

(Editor's note: This page will be updated at least once at week at the first of each week through the ACC tournament, which starts May 21, and through the Tar Heels journey in the NCAA tournament, which starts May 30 and runs through June.)

The North Carolina Tar Heels won their ninth straight game Sunday, April 20 by defeating ACC foe Boston College 8-2 in Cary. The Tar Heels, playing home games this year at the USA Baseball Complex while Boshamer Stadium is being renovated, is one win away from having the best start in school history.

The Heels have a 34-7 record including a 16-4 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference going into this week's games at Charlotte on Tuesday and back home Wednesday against High Point before getting back into conference play Friday at home against Florida State. The 1983 team, behind All-America pitcher Scott Bankhead, also had 34 wins in its first 41 games.

Sunday's victory, behind the pitching of freshman right-hander Matt Harvey, completed a sweep of the Golden Eagles. Harvey struck out eight over five and a third innings while junior shortstop Garrett Gore drove in three runs. The Tar Heels outscored BC 26-5 over the three games.

It was the most dominating the Heels have been against a conference team this season even though they have not lost a series this season. Carolina took two of three against Duke, won all three versus Virginia Tech, took two of three at Maryland, split two with N.C. State, got two of three against Georgia Tech and won all three versus Clemson.

The final three regular season ACC series for the Heels come against Florida State at home and against Virginia and Miami on the road. Florida State is leading the Atlantic Division with an 18-3 conference mark while Miami is ahead of the Heels in the Coastal Division with a 17-2 record. The standings set the pairings for the ACC tournament and have an impact on NCAA selections for those teams that don't win the ACC tourney.

With nine straight victories, Carolina is on its longest win streak of the season and is one win away from tying its 10-0 start to last season, a season which ended with a World Series finals loss to Oregon State.

Key returners from last year's team are leading the batting statistics this year. Outfielder Tim Fedroff, who won freshman All-America honors last season, leads the team in batting with a .398 average. Second baseman Kyle Seager, who batted .308 in 64 games last year as a freshman, leads the team in runs batted in with 57. And, first baseman Dustin Ackley, who was the national consensus freshman of the year last season, leads the Heels in runs scored with 51.

Upperclassmen Kyle Shelton, Seth Williams, Tim Federowicz and Chad Flack are all hitting at or above .300. In fact, the team average is .322 compared to .227 for opponents. Starting pitchers Harvey, Alex White and Adam Warren are a combined 19-4 and lead a pitching staff that has a stingy 2.15 earned run average, the nation's best.

The Tar Heels have made it to the World Series final four each of the last two seasons and seem to be on track to make a run for a third straight visit to Omaha.

Check out the most recent game box score and a photo gallery.
Take a look at team statistics.


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