Fall Prospect Notes: North Carolina
December 30, 2021
Though he’s entering just his second year as head coach, Scott Forbes has been a part of North Carolina’s coaching staff for a long time — since the program first emerged as a national superpower in 2006, when it made the first of seven College World Series runs under Mike Fox. Given all that history with great teams and great players, Forbes can’t help but make plenty of comparisons between current players and past Tar Heels, or draw parallels between this team’s trajectory and the path of some UNC club a decade past.
For instance, Forbes had a fitting comparison for the 2021 UNC club that overcame adversity and scrapped and clawed its way into a regional, finishing with a 28-27 overall record. Maybe it wasn’t a vintage season for a program with so much CWS history, but it was a valuable stepping stone campaign nonetheless.
The Tar Heels have plenty of veteran players with loads of experience who could have a big final year in Chapel Hill. Maybe it will be lefthander Will Sandy or righty Connor Ollio, both of whom have experience as both starters and relievers for the Tar Heels. Ollio is a particularly intriguing breakout candidate heading into his fourth year, as he pitched through a shoulder injury all last spring and then spent the summer rehabbing, and his stuff and command have both taken a jump this fall. In North Carolina’s scrimmage against Vanderbilt at the end of fall ball, Ollio sat 91-93 with a good slider at 83-84. He’s throwing quality strikes with three pitches better than ever before, and he should be a key piece of the pitching puzzle.
Sandy and Ollio are part of a good, seasoned core of veterans in a bullpen that...