The Tar Heels got a much needed bounce-back win Monday night knocking off Florida State 4-3 in a battle of top ten teams. UNC, which fell to #6 in the Baseball America Top 25 this week, broke a 3-3 tie in the 8th on a Brian Holberton single which scored Cody Stubbs. Trent Thornton pitched 2.1 innings to get the win after coming on with the bases loaded in the 7th to get the final out of the frame. Thornton worked a 1-2-3 8th and after hitting the leadoff man in the 9th, Colin Moran picked up an attempted sacrifice bunt to start a 5-4-3 double play.
Moran's defensive play more than made up for his 0-5 performance on the same day he was named ACC Player of the Year. Freshman Skye Bolt, who was 2-17 since returning from a broken foot a week ago, went 2-4 with an RBI.
UNC finishes the regular season 48-8. The win total sets a new UNC record for the regular season.
North Carolina moves onto the ACC Tournament with a Thursday game versus Miami followed by Clemson on Friday and NC State on Saturday. Mike Fox has announced his pitching rotation which will be the same as it has been all season. Kent Emanuel will go on Thursday vs Miami followed by Benton Moss and Hobbs Johnson.
Obviously Fox has his eye on the bigger prize which is the NCAA Tournament and is not looking to change the rotation based on ACC Tournament opponents. NC State, for example, is saving Carlos Radon for Saturday night's game versus North Carolina. Fox is opting to keep everyone on their normal rest so when UNC hosts the regional next week, the ducks are in order. In addition to that, if UNC gets to 2-0 in pool play and NCSU were to lose to Miami and Clemson, the Heels would have the ACC title game berth locked up.
However, you could make an argument for at least swapping Emanuel and Moss based on the opposition. Emanuel has lost three straight to Miami going back to last season. He has given up 11 earned runs in 23.1 IP for an ERA of 4.29 in his last three outings against the Hurricanes. Moss on the other hand has given up just one earned run in 13.1 IP and 18 Ks in two starts versus Miami. Both pitchers have been effective versus Clemson with Emanuel only surrendering two earned runs in 14.1 IP over the past two seasons. Swapping the two pitchers, based on Emanuel's issues with Miami wouldn't be the worst idea in the world and doesn't affect the rotation that much.
As it stands, Emanuel will get Miami who UNC has lost to in the ACC Tournament two straight seasons.