Tar Heels No. 11 in Collegiate Baseball preseason poll

By R.L. Bynum

Carolina, coming off the program’s 23rd 40-win season, is No. 11 in Collegiate Baseball’s preseason poll.

With 470 poll points, the Tar Heels finished only two points out of the top 10, just behind Wake Forest.

The Tar Heels won the ACC title, advanced to a Super Regional and finished 42–22 last season in the second year under coach Scott Forbes.

UNC was unranked in all but one of college baseball’s major preseason polls last year but finished the season ranked inside the top 15 in five polls. The Tar Heels finished the season No. 13 in the final Baseball America poll, 14th in the Collegiate Baseball and DI Baseball polls, and 15th in the NCBWA and USA Today Coaches polls.

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ACC teams in the Collegiate Baseball preseason rankings besides UNC and Wake Forest are No. 6 Louisville and No. 8 Miami. Topping the poll are No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 Texas A&M and No. 5 Tennessee.

Former N.C. State slugger Tommy White transferred to LSU, which is among six SEC teams in the top 10.

The Tar Heels have 22 games against teams in Collegiate Baseball’s top 50, with three-game series against Miami, No. 16 Virginia, No. 20 East Carolina, No. 23 Georgia Tech, No. 28 Virginia Tech, No. 30 N.C. State and No. 42 Clemson, in addition to a single game against No. 47 South Carolina.

UNC lost two underclassmen to the MLB draft and nine seniors. But the Tar Heels return 75% of its starting infield, two-year starting catcher Tomas Frick and All-America center fielder Vance Honeycutt (top photo), along with No. 1 starting pitcher Max Carlson.

In addition to Frick and Honeycutt, other returning lettermen are second baseman Johnny Castagnozzi, third baseman Mac Horvath and first baseman Alberto Osuna. They all combined to hit 76 of the Tar Heels’ 101 home runs last season and drove in 230 of their 435 runs.

Carlson made 18 starts a year ago and held opposing hitters to a .239 batting average, averaging more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings.

Carolina opens the 2023 season with a three-game series against Seton Hall beginning Feb. 17 at Boshamer Stadium.

Collegiate Baseball Top 25

TeamTeam (2022 record)Poll points
1.LSU (40–22)498
  2.Florida (42–24)495
  3.Stanford (47–18)491
  4.Texas A&M (44–20)489
  5.Tennessee (57–9)485
  6.Louisville (42–21–1)482
  7.Arkansas (46–21)479
  8.Miami (40–20)476
  9.Vanderbilt (39–23)475
10.Wake Forest (41–19–1)472
11.North Carolina (44–22)470
12.Oklahoma St. (42–22)467
13.UCLA (40–24)465
14.U.C. Santa Barbara (44–14)463
15.Texas Christian (38–22)460
16.Virginia (39–19)457
17.Texas Tech (39–22)454
18.Southern Miss. (47–19)452
19.Oregon (36–25)450
20.East Carolina (46–21)449
21.Maryland (48–14)447
22.Mississippi St. (26–30)444
23.Georgia Tech (36–24)440
24.Mississippi (42–23)438
25.Texas (47–22)435

UNC schedule

DateMonth/dayTimeOpponent/eventLocation
February
17Friday4 p.m.Seton HallHome
18Saturday2 p.m.Seton HallHome
19Sunday1 p.m.Seton HallHome
21Tuesday4 p.m.RadfordHome
22Wednesday4 p.m.LongwoodHome
24Friday5 p.m.East CarolinaGreenville
25Saturday2 p.m.East CarolinaHome
26Sunday1 p.m.East CarolinaHome
28Tuesday4 p.m.VCUHome
March
1Wednesday4 p.m.VCUHome
3Friday4 p.m.Stony BrookHome
4Saturday2 p.m.Stony BrookHome
5Sunday1 p.m.Stony BrookHome
7Tuesday4 p.m.Western CarolinaHome
8Wednesday4 p.m.Penn StateHome
10Friday6 p.m.VirginiaHome
11Saturday2 p.m.VirginiaHome
12Sunday1 p.m.VirginiaHome
14Tuesday6 p.m.CharlotteCharlotte
15Wednesday6 p.m.High PointHome
17Friday3 p.m.PittsburghPittsburgh
18 Saturday2 p.m.PittsburghPittsburgh
19Sunday1 p.m.PittsburghPittsburgh
21Tuesday6 p.m.N.C. A&THome
23Thursday7 p.m.DukeHome
24Friday6 p.m.DukeHome
25Saturday2 p.m.DukeHome
28Tuesday6 p.m.Coastal CarolinaHome
31Friday6 p.m.Notre DameSouth Bend, Ind.
April
1Saturday3 p.m.Notre DameSouth Bend, Ind.
2Sunday1 p.m.Notre DameSouth Bend, Ind.
4Tuesday7 p.m.South CarolinaCharlotte
6Thursday6 p.m.Georgia TechAtlanta
7Friday6 p.m.Georgia TechAtlanta
8Saturday1 p.m.Georgia TechAtlanta
11Tuesday6 p.m.QueensHome
13Thursday7 p.m.MiamiHome
14Friday6 p.m.MiamiHome
15Saturday2 p.m.MiamiHome
18Tuesday6 p.m.CharlotteHome
21Friday6 p.m.Boston CollegeHome
22Saturday2 p.m.Boston CollegeHome
23Sunday1 p.m.Boston CollegeHome
25Tuesday6 p.m.UNCWHome
28Friday7 p.m.Virginia TechBlacksburg, Va.
29Saturday7 p.m.Virginia TechBlacksburg, Va.
30Sunday1 p.m.Virginia TechBlacksburg, Va.
May
2Tuesday6 p.m.CampbellHome
9Tuesday6 p.m.Gardner-WebbHome
11Thursday7 p.m.NC StateHome
12Friday6 p.m.NC StateHome
13Saturday2 p.m.NC StateHome
16Tuesday7 p.m.Coastal CarolinaConway, S.C.
18ThursdayClemsonClemson, S.C.
19Friday6 p.m.ClemsonClemson, S.C.
20Saturday1 p.m.ClemsonClemson, S.C.
23–28 Tuesday–
Sunday
TBAACC ChampionshipDurham
June
2–5Friday–
Monday
TBANCAA RegionalsTBA
9–12Friday–
Monday
TBANCAA Super RegionalsTBA
16–26Saturday–
Wednesday
TBACollege World SeriesOmaha, Neb.

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics Communications

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