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With the victory, the Tar Heels improved to 33-23 on the season and all but locked up an NCAA Tournament berth. The Wolfpack, however, fell to 32-23 on the year and likely saw their postseason hopes evaporate with the loss to their in-state rival.
In his first bit of relief work in 2014, Carolina ace Trent Thornton retired the final five batters to avoid extra innings in a rivalry that has seen its fair share of marathon thrillers.
Michael Russell, recently left off the First-Team All-ACC squad, bashed a double and a triple to lead the Carolina attack that totaled eight hits in the contest.
The Tar Heel bats certainly came out strong, racing out to a 4-1 lead in the third inning with a trio of runs. But the Wolfpack offense responded in the fourth inning with a pair of runs of their own to narrow the gap down to a single run.
From there, the game slowed down to a crawl as both pitching staffs repeatedly responded under pressure to remain unscathed. Carolina arms Zach Rice, Trevor Kelley, Spencer Trayner and Thornton faced 10 baserunners and stranded every one of them.
There will be no time for celebration. Next up for the Tar Heels is a Wednesday night battle with second-seeded Florida State.
First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. UNC will send Taylore Cherry to the mound to face FSU’s Billy Strode.
The Tar Heels will go into the contest with confidence. The last time the two schools met, Carolina emerged victorious at Boshamer Stadium.