North Carolina Well Represented in 2024 College World Series

The tail end of spring is marked by the College World Series, which this year has a North Carolina flavor to it.

Two schools from the state are among the eight programs in Omaha, NE, vying for a title.

Half of the field is comprised of teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference, including both North Carolina and North Carolina State.

No team from North Carolina has won the Series since Wake Forest in 1955.

Round 1 is a double-elimination, round-robin tournament

This year, North Carolina baseball fans can bet on the College World Series (CWS) in the Tar Heel State. North Carolina sports betting launched in March.

Most sportsbooks in the state offer odds on the College World Series. It is legal in North Carolina to place bets on in-state college teams and also prop bets on student-athletes.

The CWS is a round-robin tournament of eight teams that won their super regionals. Schools play first-round games under a double elimination format. Round 1 games begin June 14 for one field of four teams and June 15 for the other four.

The winners of each group meet in the CWS Finals in a best-of-three series.

North Carolina vs. Virginia

The No. 4 North Carolina Tar Heels begin play in the CWS against No. 12 Virginia. These ACC teams know each other well. The Tar Heels were 1-2 against the Cavaliers in conference play this year. They were outscored 28-23 in three games played in Charlottesville. This is the 12th appearance for the Tar Heels in the CWS.

The Cavaliers are the third-highest-scoring team in D1 baseball. But North Carolina is no slouch at 11th in runs scored.

Four Virginia hitters have at least 14 home runs, led by outfielder Harrison Didawick with 23 blasts and 68 RBIs. Jacob Forence (17 HR) and Henry Ford (17 HR) also supply power to the Virginia attack. The team’s best hitter is probably right fielder Casey Saucke, who batted .343 with 31 extra-base hits and 64 RBIs.

For North Carolina, Salisbury native Vance Honeycutt is red-hot, having smacked a pair of homers in the super regional win over West Virginia. Honeycutt has a .702 slugging percentage with 26 home runs in 59 games. If that weren’t enough, the junior center fielder has 28 steals in 31 attempts.

He’s basically Mickey Mantle in college form. Or if you’re under 60 years old, Mike Trout. He’s projected to go in the top 20 of July’s MLB Draft.

The fate of the Tar Heels may come down to how well the bullpen pitches in pool play. North Carolina tends to dig itself a hole early in games. They’ll need to lean on relief pitching to put down the high-scoring teams they’ll face in Omaha, like the Cavaliers.

NC State vs. Kentucky

The No. 7 North Carolina State Wolfpack draws the No.2 Kentucky Wildcats in Round 1 of the CWS. The Wolfpack is making its fourth CWS appearance, the first since 2021.

The Pack are led by unlikely ace freshman pitcher Ryan Marohn (4-2, 3.97 ERA in 10 starts). The tall lefty from Virginia could have been a first-round pick in last year’s MLB Draft, but he opted to remain in Raleigh.

Marohn gets the start against Kentucky and will have an opportunity to set the tone early in Omaha.

The Wildcats are making their first appearance in the CWS. They swept Oregon State in the Lexington Super Regional to make it into this year’s Series.


Image Credit: Ben McKeown / AP Images

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes writes about sports betting, sports media, and sports betting legislative matters. He's the author of three books, and previously reported for Major League Baseball, as well as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.