The Diamond Heels bounced back from the debacle in Georgia Tech last weekend to score a sweep over the #1 team in the country. UNC got solid pitching and just enough offense to hand Virginia its first series loss of the season. It was also the first time since 2008 the Cavaliers had been swept.
Following Patrick Johnson's dominating performance on Thursday night, UNC faced UVa's Daniel Hultzen, arguably the best pitcher in the ACC this season. The Heels did exactly what you should do when facing an ace, they squeezed just enough runs out while effectively shutting down the Cavalier offense. It wasn't pretty at times for the Tar Heel starter Kent Emanuel despite only giving up one earned run. Emanuel flirted with danger all evening walking six while the defense committed three errors. Yet whenever Virginia threatened, Emanuel got clutch outs. R.C Orlan and Andrew Smith combined for two innings of shutout ball in the 7th and 8th with Michael Morin closing the deal in the 9th.
On Saturday, UNC again got just enough offense while holding the UVa batters in check. Chris Munnelly gave up two runs in six innings before the bullpen shut the door in UVa. The Heels got all the offense they needed in the fifth inning when Seth Baldwin singled to bring in Brian Holberton with the game tying run. After a Chaz Frank singled to move Baldwin to third and stole second, freshman 3B Colin Moran doubled to clear the bases and give the Heels all the runs they would need. Moran will finish the regular season as the ACC's RBI leader with 67 on the season and incredibly clutch with 38 of those coming with two outs. It is possible Moran could break Dustin Ackley's freshman RBI mark of 74. In fact, I don't know why any opposing coach in their right mind would pitch to Moran with runners in scoring position. I was actually surprised UVa opted to do it today, especially after Frank stole second. Fortunately for the Heels, they chose to go after Moran and he made them pay.
The burning question now for UNC is whether this huge sweep is enough to secure them a national seed in the NCAA Tournament. Yes, had UNC closed out Georgia Tech last Saturday night and gotten the series win in Atlanta, they would be a virtual lock with the sweep of UVa. In the last NCAA RPI, UNC was third. Obviously this will change with the three wins over UVa. The question is how much the RPI will impact the seed selection process. Just to be safe UNC should follow up this weekend's fine work with a good showing in the ACC Tournament.