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UNC Looks to Clinch #1 Seed in ACC This Weekend

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina will look to close out the ACC regular season schedule on a high note this weekend starting tonight with the first of three versus top ten ranked Virginia. The Cavaliers are just a single game behind UNC in the Coastal Division, however UNC would only need one win to clinch both the Coastal Division and the #1 seed in next week's ACC Tournament. Tar Heel Monthly has a full rundown of the seeding scenarios for the ACC Tournament.

Beyond the league tourney considerations, UNC really needs to have a big series against a quality opponent. Couple the UVa series with a recently added match-up with Florida State on Monday, the Tar Heels have a chance to tune-up for the NCAA Tournament with some quality wins. UNC is a mortal lock at this point for a national seed, the only question will be whether it is the #1 overall or not. The most recent RPI from the NCAA has North Carolina #2 behind Vanderbilt.

One moderate boost for UNC as it prepares for the postseason was the return this week of freshman OF Skye Bolt who had missed 17 games after breaking a bone in his right foot. Bolt returned to the lineup during the midweek game on Tuesday versus Appalachian State. He showed little sign of rust with a couple of stellar defensive plays and registering a stolen base.

The Tar Heel rotation for the series vs Virginia remains the same with Kent Emanuel in the first game followed by Benton Moss and Hobbs Johnson. Here are the probable starters via

Day Carolina Starter Virginia Starter
Thursday LHP Kent Emanuel LHP Brandon Waddell
(Jr., 9-2, 2.03 ERA, 97.2 IP, 73/18 K/BB) (Fr., 4-1, 3.88 ERA, 67.1 IP, 69/18 K/BB)
Friday RHP Benton Moss LHP Scott Silverstein
(So., 8-1, 2.96 ERA, 70.0 IP, 74/28 K/BB) (Sr., 8-1, 3.21 ERA, 67.1 IP, 53/20 K/BB)
Saturday LHP Hobbs Johnson RHP Whit Mayberry
(Jr., 4-0, 1.99 ERA, 58.2 IP, 54/35 K/BB) (Jr., 4-0, 1.66 ERA, 38.0 IP, 33/7 K/BB)