CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – South Carolina will have to wait until Saturday to play its first super regional game at North Carolina.
Friday’s 1:05 p.m. game has been moved to 12:05 p.m. Saturday because of rain. Game 2 will be Sunday at 1:05 p.m. The first two games will be on ESPN.
If needed, Game 3 will be played Monday. The time and television details have not yet been determined.
North Carolina coach Mike Fox said Thursday that he was going to use his best pro pitching prospect, Kent Emanuel, on Saturday, regardless of how weather impacted Friday’s game. That means USC will now have to face Emanuel in Game 1 rather than Game 2, which he was originally scheduled to start. Hobbs Johnson was scheduled to throw Game 1, with Benton Moss going Game 3.
USC will stick with its usual pitching rotation of Nolan Belcher, Jordan Montgomery and Jack Wynkoop.
USC coach Chad Holbrook, in his first season on the job, is aiming for his seventh College World Series trip in eight years, in this weekend’s best-of-three super regional at his alma mater. Holbrook went as a North Carolina assistant coach from 2006-08 and as a USC assistant from 2010-12, with runner-up finishes in 2006, 2007 and 2012, and national titles in 2010 and 2011.
Belcher, whose first year at USC (2009) was also Holbrook’s first year, has had a strong final season – 2.25 earned-run average, 94 strikeouts and 15 walks. He emerged as USC’s Friday starter after lefty Jordan Montgomery missed four starts from early March to early April because of an elbow bone stress reaction.
Before this season, he had pitched in the NCAA tournament just twice – a disastrous start as a freshman in the 2009 regional at East Carolina, which USC failed to advance out of (eight runs in 6 1/3 innings); and a one-hit, scoreless relief appearance of 2/3 of an inning in last year’s College World Series finals against Arizona.
Belcher acquitted himself well in this year’s regional opener against Saint Louis – 6 1/3 innings, four hits, one run, zero walks and six strikeouts.
On Thursday, knowing rain was a possibility for Friday, he said he didn’t expect a delay to affect him at all, because he’s been around for so long.