Chapel Hill Super Regional action begins this weekend between North Carolina and West Virginia with a trip to the College World Series on the line.

UNC, a national seed, drew defending national champion LSU in a tough regional bracket, but the Tar Heels were able to outlast the Tigers in a decisive Game 7. Now, UNC is back in its 4th Super Regional since 2018 and is looking to reach the CWS for the 1st time since 2018.

On the other hand, West Virginia is coming off its first-ever regional championship. The Mountaineers pulled it off in their 15th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance and their 4th appearance since the start of 2017.

To no surprise, UNC is the favorite to advance out of the Super Regional and make it to Omaha. FanDuel lists the Tar Heels at -250 to win the Super Regional with the action set to begin Friday night.

Here is a look at the full schedule and the key things to know for this weekend:

Chapel Hill Super Regional Schedule

  • Game 1: Friday, June 7 — 6 pm ET, ESPN2
  • Game 2: Saturday, June 8 — 8 pm, ESPN2
  • Game 3 (if necessary): Sunday, June 9 — 3 pm, ESPN2

How they got here

West Virginia is in Chapel Hill for its first-ever Super Regional appearance after getting through the Tucson Regional in 3 games. With Arizona, the host program, falling out in 2 games, the Mountaineers outscored opponents 19-9 with wins over Dallas Baptist and Grand Canyon (twice).

Offensively, Logan Sauve produced a key regional performance with a home run, 6 RBI and 5 runs scored. Infielder Brodie Kresser also came up clutch with 3 RBI in a 5-2 win against Grand Canyon.

The key for West Virginia in the regional round came on the mound with starting pitchers Derek Clark and Tyler Switalski delivering a pair of gems. The two combined for 16.2 innings pitched with just 2 earned runs allowed across the first 2 games of the regional.

Clark is the staff ace, and he took home Tucson Regional Most Outstanding Player honors. After throwing 9 innings of 1-run, 8-strikeout ball in a complete game opener, he came out of the bullpen for the final 2 outs in West Virginia’s 10-6 clinching win over Grand Canyon.

UNC’s path to the supers was a bit more dramatic though no less impressive. The Tar Heels needed a pair of last at-bat wins to get out of the regional, including a walk-off in the regional opener.

After blowing a 5-3 lead in the final 2 innings against LIU, UNC plated 6 runs in the bottom of the 9th for a walk-off win. Gavin Gallaher came up clutch with a walk-off grand slam, his 2nd home run of the game, as the Tar Heels won 11-8.

In Game 2, it was Vance Honeycutt who was on fire against LSU. He hit 2 home runs and drove in 4 as the Tar Heels beat LSU 6-2 in the winner’s bracket.

UNC’s bats were held in check in a second game against LSU, losing 8-4 while stranding many runners. It set up a dramatic Game 7 against the defending champions, a game that was a low-scoring affair and required more clutch hitting from the Tar Heels.

This time around, it was Colby Wilkerson driving in a game-tying run in the 9th after Gallaher led the inning off with a double. In the 10th, Alex Madera would drive in the eventual game-winning run as the Tar Heels held on for a 4-3 win.

3 keys to series

Derek Clark vs. UNC’s right-handed hitters

Derek Clark is West Virginia’s ace with a 2.82 ERA in 13 appearances (12 starts) this season. He has struck out 83 in 89.1 innings pitched with just 20 walks, and he has surrendered just 8 home runs on the season.

Clark will be tested against UNC, and it’s important the right-handed batters of the Tar Heels apply the pressure.

In particular, the group of Vance Honeycutt, Parks Harber, Gavin Gallaher and Alberto Osuna will need to get quality at-bats against Clark to try and get runs on the board and Clark out of the game. He needed just 101 pitches in a complete game win against Dallas Baptist and did not issue a walk.

Reed Chumley, Sam White getting going vs. UNC pitching

Infielder Reed Chumley and utilityman Sam White were West Virginia’s best-hitting regulars during the season with OPS’s of 1.059 and .914, respectively. Chumley led the Mountaineers with 15 home runs and 15 doubles while White led the team with 64 hits and 46 runs scored.

In the Tucson Regional, Chumley and White were productive but far from the stars offensively. Combined, the two went just 7-for-21 with 3 walks, 5 runs and 5 RBI with West Virginia averaging 6.33 runs per game.

The Mountaineers are far from an offensive juggernaut with 6.8 runs per game all season long, and they cannot afford to get that lack of production from White and Chumley against the Tar Heels.

Vance Honeycutt avoiding the K

Vance Honeycutt is a top MLB prospect after leading the Tar Heels with 24 home runs and a 1.095 OPS. He’s also 28-for-31 in the stolen base department, but strikeouts are an occasional Achilles heel for Honeycutt.

Outside of his 2-HR game, Honeycutt was just 1-for-13 with 1 walk, 2 runs scored and 6 strikeouts in the regionals. Even counting his 2-HR game, Honeycutt still struck out 8 times in 17 total at-bats in the regional round.

Against West Virginia, and should the Tar Heels advance to Omaha, UNC will need Honeycutt to be the guy who gets on base as opposed to the guy who strikes out 33% of the time.