NCAA Regional: #1 UNC vs #2 Florida Atlantic

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

#1 North Carolina vs #2 Florida Atlantic, 6 PM, ESPN3

This is a simple proposition for the Tar Heels. Win and advance to the Super Regional which UNC will host next weekend. A loss means these two teams will meet again on Monday evening in a winner-takes-all game.

UNC will send Hobbs Johnson to the mound in his normal Sunday slot. Johnson was very good a week ago giving up only one run to NC State and has been fairly reliable this season. UNC has not expended the bullpen too much however Trent Thornton has thrown 3.1 innings in two games so it will be interesting to see what his availability might be for this game. The only other bullpen pitcher to see action so far has been Chris McCue who will probably be available should the Heels need extended work from the relievers.

The question surrounding the Tar Heels is where the offense from Colin Moran and Skye Bolt is in the regional. The 3-4 hitters in the Tar Heel lineup are a combined 3-15 in two game so far. That is coming off some suspect hitting from both players in the ACC Tournament a week ago. Moran, in particular, has not registered an RBI since notching his record setting 84th on the season in the ACC Tournament opener versus Miami. That is an RBI drought of five games for the ACC Player of the Year. Getting Moran on track is the likely cure for an offense than still manages to score runs but does so rather methodically. That seems to be a contrast from the offensive explosions seen earlier in the season.

Because Florida Atlantic needed a win on Saturday and again earlier on Sunday to reach this game, UNC has the advantage of rest. FAU will be leaning on less quality in the starting pitching as well as fatigue given the heat and humidity in Chapel Hill from the mid-afternoon game. With those factors in mind, the Tar Heels should be able to close out this regional and look to the next round.

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