The Tar Heels took care of business on Tuesday, getting out to a quick lead against Georgia Tech and never looking back. There was a moment in the sixth inning when it looked like it might be another late-inning collapse from the Tar Heels, a base running mistake cost the Tar Heels a run and they were staring at wasting a bases loaded opportunity when the Yellow Jackets had climbed back to within two.
The Yellow Jackets needed the win just like Carolina, so went ahead and brought in their closer, Terry Busse, to shut down the inning. Instead he uncorked a wild pitch to bring across one run, and then Jackson Van De Brake rocketed a ball deep for another double to score two more runs. Suddenly the Tar Heels were up 7-2, and while Tech would answer over the next couple of innings, that inning was all the difference.
Carolina now turns its attention to the Coastal Champion Virginia Cavaliers in a winner-take-all game that will determine who gets to play in the semifinals on Saturday. The Tar Heels went 1-2 against Virginia this season, losing the three game series in Chapel Hill back in the beginning of March. The Cavaliers didn’t play yesterday like the game didn’t matter against Georgia Tech, demolishing them with an eight run fifth inning that left the Yellow Jackets going home without any wins and likely ending their season. The Cavaliers used their typical first day starter Nick Parker, but due to the throttling they didn’t have to really go into their pen so the rest of their arms will be fresh for today.
Virginia actually had the third best record in the ACC, but because they won the Coastal, they were given the two seed. They are also home of the freshly minted ACC Player of the year, Kyle Teel. They also had three additional First Team All-ACC honors, which seems mostly like a reward for coming out of the mess that was the ACC regular season and finishing it on top of one of the divisions. Teel, though, earned his POY award by leading the conference with a ridiculous .414 batting average, and also co-led the league in doubles.
Make no mistake, it’s going to be a problem to take out Virginia, and the Tar Heels will have to do it without Vance Honeycutt again as, prior to Tuesday’s game, UNC coach Scott Forbes ruled Honeycutt out for the ACC Championship, hoping to save him for the NCAA Tournament. That clarity in knowing the team won’t see Honeycutt seemed to help Carolina on Tuesday, but the step up in competition from Georgia Tech to Virginia is steep. Win today, and Carolina can come back to Durham on Saturday. Lose and you go home and wait to see where you are traveling to on Monday.
With that in mind, if you want to catch this clash at the DBAP today, here’s how:
- Time: 3:00 PM ET, it is Game 2 of the day so if Game 1 runs long it may be pushed
- Location: Durham Bulls Athletic Park—Durham, NC. Tickets available here
- TV: ACC Network
- Radio: The game will as part of the Tar Heel Sports Network on the flagship, WCHL 97.9 Chapel Hill, and also on WBAG 1150 AM Burlington and WOHS 1390 AM Shelby. Dave Nathan will provide the call. You can also listen on SiriusXM on channel 371
- Streaming: The ACC Network broadcast can be streamed on Watch ESPN.