This is part two of our College World Series (or "CWS") preview, looking at the two teams Texas may face after seeing Florida.
Texas baseball can't be guaranteed of much in the College World Series, but the double elimination format guarantees that Texas will see a second game regardless of how they fare against Florida. The second part of our preview takes a quick look at the other two teams Texas may see on Monday. Take a look after the jump at UNC and Vanderbilt.
North Carolina: The #3 Tar Heels, at least in our eyes, were the most controversial choice from the selection committee. It's not that UNC didn't deserve a national seed, they certainly did, but at 45-15 following the ACC tournament, were the Tar Heels really the third best team in the country? The Tar Heels played a tough schedule, ranked #16 by Boyds World, and earned the three-seed on the back of a home sweep of Virginia and road series win over Florida State. UNC made a quick exit from the ACC tournament in three games before sweeping a weak regional and a pretty good Stanford squad. The negative for UNC, however, is that lost four series during the season: @ Ga. Tech, Miami, @ Wake Forrest, and a sweep at the hands of NC State. The Heels were nearly unbeatable at home, going 34-3 against some tough competition, but UNC has a less than stellar 16-11 record away from the friendly confines of Boshamer Stadium.
UNC is not elite in any particular category, but a look at them statistically shows they do everything well. The Heels are led offensively by 3B Colin Moran (.335 BA, 9 HR, 69 RBI), who leads the team in nearly every important offensive category. UNC has a .289 team batting average, good for 99th overall and is in the top ten nationally in both runs scored per game and walks. On the mound, Patrick Johnson leads the way with a 13-1 record (2.27 ERA, .208 BAA, 120 K in 107 IP). After him, only Kent Emanuel (8-1, 2.55 ERA) has thrown an extensive number of innings and scares you.
Vanderbilt: The #6 Vanderbilt Commodores earned their national seed with a 52-10 record whose only real blemish is a 1-3 record against SEC champion Florida. Vandy does pretty much everything at an elite level, ranking 5th nationally in batting average (.319), 14th in runs per game (7.1), 27th in homers, 3rd in team ERA, and 4th in both strikeouts and hits allowed per game. Five Commodore hitters rank in the top 300 nationally in batting average, with Jason Esposito leading the way with a .357 average. No player (perhaps in the entire tournament) scares you quite like 1B Aaron Westlake, whose .353 average, .651 slugging percentage, and 17 homers should be illegal. Sonny Gray leads the way on the mound, with a 1.97 ERA, 12-3 record and .191 batting average against. Grayson Garvin (13-1, 2.36 ERA) and Taylor Hill (5-1, 2.84 ERA) give Vanderbilt as strong a starting rotation as anyone this side of Texas.