Fall Report: North Carolina

Fall Report

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — If the draft had played out the way North Carolina expected it to, 2020 might have been a transition year for the Tar Heels. Instead, righthanders Joey Lancellotti and Gianluca Dalatri plus outfielder Dylan Harris all returned to UNC for another season, giving the Heels three accomplished upperclassmen to lead a largely inexperienced team. 

“We weren’t expecting Lancellotti and Dalatri and Dylan Harris to be here,” UNC coach Mike Fox said. “Those three guys could be the difference between us being an average team and an above-average team.”

To take it a step further, having Lancellotti and Dalatri could make UNC’s pitching staff Omaha-caliber, because they join with a few other returnees to form a top six or seven arms that stack up well against almost any staff in college baseball — if everything comes together. There are certainly some wild card factors at play.

Of course, a major key will be Dalatri’s health. After going 7-3, 3.34 in 97 innings to earn freshman All-America honors in 2017, Dalatri was limited by injury to 27 innings as a sophomore and 17 innings as a junior. He hasn’t pitched in scrimmage action this fall while rehabbing from April hip surgery, but he started his throwing program in the last two weeks and is now working to build up his strength so he’s ready to go full throttle by the time the season starts in February. At his best, he’s a polished four-pitch strike-thrower and a bona fide ace. UNC needs him to return to that form as a senior. …

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