Emanuel Steals Rodon’s Thunder
Opening Day of College Season
HILL, N.C.—North Carolina lefthander Kent Emanuel will never be
confused with North Carolina State lefty Carlos Rodon in the eyes of
scouts, but for one day at least—the Opening Day of the 2013 NCAA
Division I baseball season—Emanuel upstaged his more celebrated
the No. 1 arm on the nation’s No. 1-ranked college team, Emanuel
was in mid-season form in pitching the Tar Heels to a tight 1-0 win
over Seton Hall. He went the distance, walking none and scattering
four singles while becoming the first UNC pitcher in 46 years to
pitch a season-opening shutout.
a mere 20 miles away in front of a record Opening Day crowd at N.C.
State, Rodon was rocked for three homers in his 2013 debut as the No.
8 Wolfpack unexpectedly fell 6-3 to Appalachian State. It was the
first career loss for the No. 1-ranked prospect in the 2014 draft
class—and the first loss of any kind for Rodon since 2010, when he
was a high-school junior.
6-foot-4, 190-pound Emanuel mowed down the Pirates with ease through
eight innings, and worked his way out of a ninth-inning jam when he
struck out 3-hole hitter Giuseppe Papaccio and got cleanup hitter Sal
Annunziata on a comebacker, leaving Seton Hall runners stranded at
second and third.
worked with precision-like command throughout in subduing Seton Hall,
mixing in a fastball that typically sat in the 87-89 mph range,
topping occasionally at 90, with a slow, tantalizing curve at 70-71
mph and changeup. He threw 106 pitches, 78 for strikes.
6-3, 235-pound Rodon, meanwhile, was rocked for a three-run,
first-inning homer by Appalachian State freshman Jaylin Davis, and
surrendered solo blasts to Preston Troutman in the second and Noah
Holmes in the fourth. He exited after six innings, trailing 5-2 and
the Wolfpack was never able to make up the deficit.
fanned eight and walked one in his debut, while working with a
mid-90s fastball, his trademark dominant slider and improved
changeup, though his command was spotty. Unlike Emanuel, he left
several pitches up in the strike zone and paid the price.
with the scintillating effort by Emanuel and the disappointing
showing by Rodon, the performance of the two southpaws did little, if
anything to impact their standing among scouts. Rodon still remains
an overwhelming favorite to be the top pick in the draft a year from
now, while Emanuel (ranked No. 79 by Perfect Game among prospects for
this year’s draft) only solidified his stock as a solid third- to