CHAPEL HILL — As a scholarship athlete at North Carolina, Luke Maye will be pulling for the Tar Heels’ baseball team once it begins play at the College World Series in Omaha on Saturday.
But that won’t be his only rooting interest.
Because Maye’s younger brother Cole is a pitcher for defending national champion Florida, the star basketball player will also have a vested interest in the fortunes of the Gators.
The good news for the Maye family is that UNC and Florida are on opposite sides of the bracket and wouldn’t face each other until the national championship series. And because Cole is redshirting this season, there’s no chance he’ll have to pitch against the Tar Heels even if they do happen to play one another.
“He kind of struggled a little bit,” Luke said of Cole, who pitched in five games as a freshman during Florida’s national championship 2017 season. “He’s been kind of going back and forth with mechanics.”
That doesn’t mean Luke won’t be torn if his school and his brother’s school end up as the last two teams standing in the eight-team tournament.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I’d still probably be kind of neutral. I mean family is the most important thing to me and he’s still obviously part of the team and will probably travel, so I might try to get out there and see them. And then Carolina is in my blood.”
“I’ve got a 25 percent chance of being happy. Either way, that’s pretty good odds, better than one in eight.”
UNC will play its CWS opener against Oregon State at 3 p.m. Saturday. Florida won’t play until Sunday when it takes on Texas Tech at 7 p.m.