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Heels Sweep Virginia Tech; ACC Tournament Schedule Announced

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UNC baseball finished off the regular season in impressive fashion sweeping Virginia Tech in Chapel Hill and running its win streak to 13 games.

It would appears, based on the sweep of the Hokies, UNC is getting impressive pitching at just the right time.

Kent Emanuel gave up two runs on Thursday en route to a 13-2 win. Benton Moss combined with R.C. Orlan and Michael Morin to a five hit, one run outing as the Heels squeezed out the 2-1 victory. On Saturday Hobbs Johnson was perfect into the 8th inning before surrendering three hits and two runs. Orlan and Morin pitched the ninth of the Heels 6-2 win close out the regular season.

UNC will be the #2 seed in the ACC Tournament which starts on Wednesday in Greenboro. The ACC Tournament uses pool play to determine the championship game participants. UNC is in Pool B with NC State, Miami and Wake Forest. The Heels have a 4-5 mark against those three opponents having gone 2-1 against both NC State and Wake Forest but being swept by Miami. Here is UNC's schedule for pool play.

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UNC has not announced its rotation yet and it will be interesting to see how it gets handled. In all likelihood, Kent Emanuel will start the first game versus Wake Forest but after that it is a little murky. Benton Moss went 6.1 innings giving up four hits and two runs in his April 8th outing versus Miami that the Heels lost 4-0. Hobbs Johnson was not a starter when UNC faced any of the opponents in Pool B. Of course with Mike Fox, the starter is not nearly as important as it might be otherwise since the bullpen is strong and Fox loves to use multiple pitchers. Still Emanuel, Moss and Johnson have all pitched well of late and having Orlan and Morin in the bullpen for the final three innings gives the Heels some flexibility.

UPDATE: Per Inside Carolina, Mike Fox says he will start Shane Taylor on Wednesday vs Wake Forest then Kent Emanuel vs Miami on Thursday. That would keep Emanuel on his normal one week rest and Taylor, who pitched eight innings of one hit ball versus Duke eight days ago, will see the Demon Deacons. For Saturday when UNC faces NC State it will be some combo of Benton Moss and Hobbs Johnson.

This is could end up being a smart gamble of Fox's part. If Taylor can get UNC past Wake Forest, that leaves the Heels' ace on the mound to try and secure that second win in pool play. Having either Moss or Johnson for the Saturday game against NC State is a great position for the Heels to be in on the weekend.