North Carolina baseball closed out their regular season on Saturday with a win over Duke, sealing a victory in all of their ACC series this year. It was an incredible run for the Tar Heels on their way to winning the Coastal Division, but there is work left to be done.
UNC now heads to Louisville, Kentucky, for the ACC Tournament to try and boost their resume for the NCAA Tournament even more. As the second seed in the tournament, behind hosts Louisville, Carolina has landed in Pool B with No. 7 seed NC State and No. 11 seed Boston College.
Whichever of those three teams has the best record at the end of play on Friday will advance to the semifinals on Saturday to play the winner of Pool C, which consists of No. 3 Wake Forest, No. 6 Miami, and No. 10 Georgia Tech.
First up for Carolina is Boston College at 3:00 pm ET on Wednesday. The Eagles got off to a very rough start this season, going 1-14 including giving up an astounding 48 runs to UNC in a weekend series. They really turned it on down the stretch, however, finishing their season on a 16-6 run in order to make it into the tournament as the 11 seed.
The Eagles dealt with some injuries to key players that hurt them at the beginning. Now that those players have returned, their results have greatly improved. Jacob Stevens, a right-handed sophomore out of Connecticut, serves as their Friday Starter. BC lost five of his first eight starts before righting the ship a bit to close out the season on a 5-2 run with him on the mound.
Dan Metzdorf and Brian Rapp, a lefty and righty, respectively, close out BC’s weekend rotation. Metzdorf has gone undefeated since his loss to the Tar Heels, and Rapp recently completed a complete game shutout against NC State.
On the hitting side, sophomore Jake Alu has led the way for Boston College with a .335/.382/.391 triple slash line. He was a big reason why the Eagles were able to sweep Notre Dame to close their season. Catcher Gian Martellini is the biggest power threat for BC, having hit 14 doubles and five home runs this season.
Friday evening at 7:00 pm ET, the Tar Heels will take on in-state rival NC State. Like Boston College, NC State closed out their season on a hot streak with 13 wins in their last 15 games. They won their final series against Clemson, two games to one.
Johnny Piedmonte is 6-0 with a 1.88 ERA this season. Reliever Joe O’Donnell out of Wilmington, NC, has been incredibly tough for opponents to contend with over his last several outings. He has held opponents to a .219 batting average against in 41.1 innings of relief this season.
Offensively, the Wolfpack are led by catcher Brad Debo. He owns a .344/.398/.508 triple slash heading into the ACC Tournament. Power-wise, NC State has gotten 16 home runs from junior Joe Dunand out of Miami. His .626 SLG% is easily the best on his team.
Carolina is safely in the NCAA Tournament at this stage, and will almost certainly be hosting a regional in Chapel Hill when the time comes. Still, a strong showing in the ACC Tournament would be a great way to tune up before that time. Hopefully the Heels can make it all the way to Sunday with a chance to bring the championship home to Chapel Hill.