North Carolina’s baseball team has been eliminated from the ACC Baseball Tournament following a 5-4 loss to Pittsburgh Wednesday night. The Diamond Heels entered the tournament in Durham as the top seed, but it did not help them advance beyond the first game.
UNC seemed to be flirting with disaster throughout the game, narrowly managing to work out of danger multiple times. Carolina’s strong offense was more or less absent after the early innings which allowed Pitt to catch up and ultimately take a late-game lead.
Carolina will play a meaningless game against Georgia Tech on Friday before awaiting their NCAA Tournament fate following the conclusion of the conference tournament. Despite getting bounced early in Durham, the Diamond Heels are still in a good position to host a regional in Chapel Hill as one of the best teams in the country.
Fortunately, the setup of the NCAA Tournament is much more favorable than the ACC Tournament. It doesn’t fully soften the blow of a disappointing showing against an inferior team, but having the regionals and super regionals not be single elimination is a much better way to determine the better team. Baseball is notoriously fickle and any team can beat any other team on any given day regardless of how good or bad each one is. It’s less likely (although not impossible) to happen across a pool of games.
Hopefully the Heels can use this unexpected time to rest up and prepare themselves for the bigger test ahead and avoid another postseason letdown.