Series Preview: UNC vs. FSU

No. 2 North Carolina (36-7, 16-4) hosts No. 3 Florida State (34-5, 18-3) in a key ACC series this weekend. The Seminoles, who hold a 5.5-game lead on first place in the Atlantic Division, are coming off a home series against No. 1 Miami, in which they lost two out of three.

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Game Schedule:
• April 25 - 7 p.m.
• April 26 - 6 p.m.
• April 27 - 1 p.m.

Media Coverage:
All of the games for this series will be broadcast by the Tar Heel Sports Network affiliates and will televised online by ACC Select. The Saturday game will also be featured on XM Radio on Channel 190. You can discuss the live action with fellow fans at Inside Carolina's Diamond Heels forum.

Ticket Information:
Tickets can be purchased online at www.tarheelblue.com and picked up at will call for this weekend series. If tickets remain on game day, they will be available for purchase at the USA Baseball Complex box office. Carolina students, faculty and staff will be admitted with a UNC OneCard at no charge.

Student Transportation:
UNC will be running a shuttle service for the Friday and Saturday games for UNC Students; if interested e-mail your name and PID to carolina.baseball@gmail.com . The shuttle will depart one hour before the game from the Smith Center parking lot.

QUOTABLES

Senior Closer Rob Wooten:
"It will be a great series, it is what you dream of. It should be a really good one. I'm pretty sure this place will be sold out and this place will be packed and be a great atmosphere. They always bring a great crowd, they will be ready to play and we will be ready to play. We did not want to look past High Point or Charlotte - Thursday we will sit down and discuss Florida State and be ready to play on Friday."

Head Coach Mike Fox:
"It will be fun, it is always fun when we play Florida State. Obviously they are having a terrific year and there will be a lot of excitement and both teams will be ready. I think people are still questioning how good maybe we really are or aren't - they were thinking, 'Now they get Virginia, Florida State and Miami, let see if the Tar Heels can compete at that level...' We kind of have been down that road before and had to prove ourselves, so maybe our guys will look at it that way and we will play well."

"I don't think anyone is confident facing Buster Posey - what is he hitting .500 or .480? He is really having a terrific year for them and obviously we are going to have to be careful with him. I don't think confidence is going to be an issue [with us]... the mystique of us playing the Florida State's and the Miami's have been erased in the past couple of years..."

"I don't think [the USA Complex's dimensions] will hurt us. Florida State has a really good offensive team. They have an offensive ballpark with a short right porch that helps them. They play great at home, it is going to be interesting to see how the park dictates how they play against us. They don't have a lot of team speed, but have a lot of really good hitters one through nine."

Senior Third Baseman Chad Flack:
"I think all of us are looking forward to it and it is going to be a great series between two very good teams going head to head, especially when you have No. 2 facing No. 3 in the country. We are going to take it just like every other game this year; every game means so much no matter if you are playing Florida State or someone who isn't ranked as highly. Hopefully we will play well."

Pitching Match Ups:

Friday April 25
UNC RHP Alex White (7-2) 1.99 ERA, 55 K, .229 B/avg.
FSU LHP Matt Fairel (8-1) 3.09 ERA, 49 K, .253 B/avg.

Saturday April 26
UNC RHP Adam Warren (6-0) 3.83 ERA, 38 K, .287 B/avg.
FSU RHP Geoff Parker (3-1) 3.37 ERA, 35 K, .262 B/avg.

Sunday April 27
UNC RHP Matt Harvey (6-2) 2.39 ERA, 46 K, .241 B/avg.
FSU RHP Elih Villanueva (4-1) 4.05 ERA, 56 K, ..251 B/avg.

Florida State Pitching Notes:
Friday's starting pitcher, Matt Fairel, is a sophomore left hander from Winter Haven, Fla. He pitched from the bullpen last year and joined the starting rotation this season. He has a very fluid delivery and his fastball is in the high 80s. Fairel was drafted by the Giants in the 32nd round of the MLB draft before attending Florida State. He is coming off of a shelling in the sixth inning at the hands of Miami, who knocked him out of the game with eight runs (six earned).

Right handed pitcher Geoff Parker will take the mound for the Seminoles on Saturday evening. The freshman starter hails from Dade City, Fla, where he won double-digit games on the mound as a senior with a miniscule 1.23 earned run average. He has a decent fastball to go along with a plus breaking ball and was listed by Perfect Game as one of the top seniors in Florida before heading to Florida State. Parker only lasted four innings in his last start against Miami, giving up four earned runs. He has a strikeout to walk ratio of 4.4 on the season.

Junior Elih Villanueva took a circuitous route to get to Florida State. The right handed pitcher started his college career at Florida International for his freshman season then transferred to Miami-Dade Community College for his sophomore season, where he had a 0.82 earned run average, striking out 109 batters in 89 innings pitched. He features a fastball in the high 80s, a curveball and a changeup. Villanueva, now a junior, did not make it out of the third inning (allowing five runs without getting an out in that inning) in the series against Miami. He was the Seminoles' opening day starter this season.

The starters for Florida State are looking for redemption after the tough series against Miami and will most likely be looking forward to the spacious confines of the USA Baseball Training Complex to be able to challenge the Tar Heel batters. Florida State uses a number of pitchers in save opportunities including senior outfielder/pitcher Ryan Strauss and starting catcher Buster Posey.


Posey
Florida State Offensive Overview:
Florida State's leader on offense is junior catcher Buster Posey, who leads the team with a .483 batting average (second in the nation) heading into this series. He also leads the Seminoles with 71 base hits, 17 doubles, three triples, 46 runs batted in, 52 runs scored and is second on the team with 11 home runs on the season. Posey is slugging an amazing .864 on the season, while his on base percentage is .564. However, he has hit .259 against the Tar Heels in his career.

The team leader in home runs this season for the Seminoles is senior outfielder Dennis Guinn, who has hit 12 balls out of the park this season, driving in 44 Seminoles with his .319 batting average. The Seminoles have hit 57 home runs in their 39 games this season (compared to the Tar Heels' 43 home runs on the season).

The Seminoles are batting .352 as a team, while limiting their opponents to a .245 batting average (the Tar Heels check in at .326 as a team heading into this series). The Seminoles recently boosted their stolen base statistic by stealing nine bases in nine attempts against Jacksonville - before that game they were 18-for-33 in stolen base attempts.

Florida State Season Review:
Florida State has dominated the Atlantic Division, starting the season 10-0 in conference play. The Seminoles are 22-3 at home this season and 11-2 on the road. Their losses include Georgia, Wake Forest, Florida and two to Miami. They have won 16 of their last 18 ACC series since 2006 – with the two series losses coming to Miami last week and then last year to Clemson.

Florida State head coach Mike Martin sports a career record of 1,518-511-4 and is one of the three baseball coaches that has surpassed the 1,500 wins plateau.

Interesting Note:
Posey began his college career at Florida State as the starting shortstop for the Seminoles, but is now an All-American catcher. He is also a closer, having pitched in five games and garnering four saves. He features a mid 90s fastball to go along with a curveball, slider and changeup. There should be a herd of Major League Baseball scouts falling all over themselves out in Cary this weekend keeping tabs on this dynamic prospect. He is expected to be one of the top MLB draft picks following this season.


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