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Heels Open ACC Tournament Versus Virginia Tech

UNC will face Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament play-in game at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park beginning at 3:00 PM.

Dave Weaver-USA TODAY Sports

ACC Tournament: #8 UNC vs #9 Virginia Tech, 3:00 PM, RSN

It is not an exaggeration to say UNC's season is on the line in this game. The Tar Heels, who were seemingly a mortal lock for an NCAA berth just two weeks ago have lost six straight ACC games and in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001. Incidentally the 2001 season was the last time UNC was swept in back-to-back weekends in ACC play.

With UNC is such a precarious position and needing a win to even stay in Durham for pool play, Mike Fox will turn to Zac Gallen to keep the Tar Heels alive. Gallen, who was named to the All-ACC Second Team on Monday, has been the Tar Heels' best starting pitcher. Gallen was spectacular against Virginia last Thursday giving up one run in 8.1 innings. However most of Gallen's success has come at the friendly confines of Boshamer Stadium. On the road, the sophomore has been markedly worse including giving up five runs(four earned) in just five innings in an 8-3 loss to Virginia Tech on April 17th in Blacksburg.

For UNC to survive to play three more games, the bats will need to be more active and timely than they were last weekend. The Tar Heels are perfectly capable of getting hits but often do so at all the wrong times. Complicating matters is the lineup simply lacks consistency all the way through. Junior CF Skye Bolt leads the teams with nine home runs but is batting just .234 in ACC play. UNC has just one regular player hitting better than .260 in ACC play and that's Landon Lassiter at .309. Among the players who have gotten at least 20 ACC starts UNC has two, Alex Raburn and Zack Gahagan who are batting .167 and .157 respectively against league competition. For UNC to have any hope of stringing together a couple of quality wins in Durham, the bats will need to be dramatically better than they have been.

The two teams a pair of games during the regular season third contest of the series rained out. The Hokies took the first game 8-3 but UNC answered with an 11-10 win the next day thanks to 10 walks issued by Virginia Tech.

The Hokies will send left hander Kit Scheetz to the mound versus the Tar Heels on Tuesday. Scheetz is 3-3 on the season with a 5.67 ERA in 46.0 IP. In ACC play, Scheetz went 2-3 with a 6.66 ERA. In the 8-3 Virginia Tech win over UNC on April 17th, Scheetz pitched 7.0 innings giving up just three earned runs.