South Carolina’s winner-take-all NCAA tournament super regional Game 3 at North Carolina has been moved from 7 p.m. today to noon Tuesday because of severe weather.
The game will air on ESPN2. The winner will play North Carolina State in its College World Series opener. The Wolfpack beat Rice in two games in the Raleigh Super Regional, finishing off the series Sunday night.
USC’s super regional at North Carolina was supposed to start Friday, but that game was moved to Saturday because of rain. USC beat North Carolina 8-0 on Sunday to force a decisive Game 3, which was supposed to be Sunday under the super regional’s original schedule.
The College World Series’ opening games are Saturday and Sunday, with two games each day. Two first-round matchups in Omaha’s eight-team bracket are already set: LSU-UCLA and Louisville-Indiana. The winner of the Mississippi State-Virginia super regional will play the winner of Kansas State-Oregon State.
North Carolina is the tournament’s top overall seed and hasn’t lost back-to-back games all year. USC is trying to make its fourth straight Omaha trip – something it has never done.
Game 3 being moved from tonight to Tuesday could help North Carolina. The Tar Heels’ starting pitchers in the first two games lasted just 2 1/3 and 1 2/3 innings. North Carolina coach Mike Fox used four relievers Saturday. They threw five, 19, 33 and 58 pitches. On Sunday, Fox used five relievers. They threw five, eight, 22, 24 and 39 pitches. One of the relievers who threw Saturday, Tate Parrish, also threw Sunday. He threw five pitches Saturday and eight Sunday.
The Tar Heels’ earned-run average leader entering the super regional, Trent Thornton, threw only on Saturday (58 pitches) and now could be available Tuesday, and would certainly be fresher. Thornton entered the super regional with a 1.17 ERA, 71 strikeouts and 12 walks.
There is also a possibility that Fox could use his Saturday starter, third-round Major League Baseball draft pick Kent Emanuel, in Tuesday’s game. Emanuel threw 63 pitches Saturday.
North Carolina’s two top relievers besides Thornton are Chris McCue and Chris Munnelly. Both threw Saturday (19 pitches for Munnelly, 33 for McCue). Neither threw Sunday.
USC’s bullpen was going to be well rested on Monday anyway, because Jordan Montgomery threw a complete game Sunday. Setup man Adam Westmoreland threw 48 pitches Saturday. Closer Tyler Webb threw 18. They are the only two USC relievers who have appeared in the super regional.
USC will start freshman left-hander Jack Wynkoop in Game 3. North Carolina will start sophomore righty Benton Moss.