UNC opened up the series with #1 Virginia on Thursday night by getting a gem of a performance from Patrick Johnson en route to a 6-0 win. Johnson pitched a complete game four hit shutout striking out nine and walking none. It marked the first time in 166 games that Virginia had been shutout. After giving up a single to begin the fifth inning, Johnson proceeded to retire the final fifteen batters he faced to close out the game.
The Tar Heels got most of their runs in a five-run sixth inning off the Cavaliers midweek starter Cody Winiarski . UVa's decision to alter the rotation answers the question I posed yesterday concerning how much the Cavaliers would press themselves in this series given there is really not much to gain for them in it. The change in rotation was made to set the table for the ACC Tournament. On the flipside, Johnson throwing 136 pitches in this game is probably not the best thing in terms of ACC Tourney play but UNC needs this series and resting the oft used bullpen is obviously important.
UNC will go for the series win on Friday night with Kent Emanuel on the mound. The Tar Heel batters will face a tough test versus one of the best pitchers in the ACC. UVa's Danny Hultzen is ACC's strikeout leader sporting a 9-2 record and gaudy 1.42 ERA.