Dustin Ackley is a first baseman by trade and a relentless hitter by hard work and genetics. He has knocked baseballs around ACC stadiums for three years now, building the best career batting average, .406, in North Carolina Tar Heels history. Ackley, this season's ACC player of the year, will try to help his team reach the College World Series for the fourth consecutive season starting at 6 p.m. today, when UNC opens regional play in Boshamer Stadium against Dartmouth of the Ivy League.
Dustin Time: Tar Heels' Ackley is about to end a remarkable college career
The Winston-Salem Journal
North Carolina's trio of Alex White, Adam Warren and Matt Harvey helped anchor perhaps the best pitching staff in college baseball last season.
The Tar Heels boasted the stingiest earned run average in the country, allowed the fewest hits per nine innings and rang up the most strikeouts per nine innings. So when White, Warren and Harvey returned this season, they expected to duplicate that production.
Yet as the Tar Heels prepare to host Dartmouth today in the NCAA Chapel Hill regional, that aura of invincibility has taken a few whacks from recent opponents. Regaining that aura will be key to whether Carolina, the No. 4 national seed, can advance to the super regionals and eventually to its fourth straight College World Series.
Heels armed and ready
The News and Observer
Matt Harvey, Alex White and Adam Warren started the three games for North Carolina in last year's regional, helping the Tar Heels win all three to advance to the Super Regional and, eventually, the College World Series.
Tar Heels' pitching remains intact, offense largely changed from '08 run
The Durham Herald-Sun
Coach Bob Whalen's Big Green are the No. 4 seed going up against the top-seeded Tar Heels (42-16), who are ranked fourth in the country and have made it to the College World Series in Omaha the past three years.
Dartmouth (27-16) will face sophomore righthander Matt Harvey, who is 6-2 with 75 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings.
Dartmouth will not be intimidated by this home-field combination and a towering opponent. The Big Green have won 52 games the past two years after bouncing back from a 8-29 season in 2007.
Dartmouth, BC in foreign territory
The Boston Globe
After winning the Ivy League crown, the Dartmouth baseball team earned a bid to the first round of the NCAA tournament and will face the overall No. 4 seed University of North Carolina at 6 p.m. tonight in the Chapel Hill Regional in Chapel Hill, N.C.
"It would be the icing on the cake to go down there and win the regionals," co-captain Jack Monahan '09 said. "It would be great to make some noise and have people respect Ivy League baseball more than they do."
While the Big Green (27-16, 16-4 Ivy) gears up to face the Tar Heels (42-16, 19-10 ACC), the top seed in the regional bracket, the University of Kansas will prepare to play the University of Coastal Carolina in the other Chapel Hill matchup.
NCAA baseball tourney begins as Dartmouth faces UNC