The seventh-seeded North Carolina baseball team, 33-24 on the season, will be aiming to rebound from an ACC Tournament pool play loss to second-seeded Florida State when the Tar Heels face the third-seeded Virginia Cavaliers, 43-11 overall, Friday night under the lights at NewBridge Bank Park.
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The Tar Heels will need some help to make it to Sunday this year at the ACC Tournament. The defending champions will have to hope the Seminoles drop both of their remaining games.
But Carolina is firmly focused on taking care of what is in their own control, which is defeating the final two teams left to play in their pool.
First up for Head Coach Mike Fox’s squad will be the Cavaliers at 7 p.m. Friday night. The Wahoos are also coming off a loss – a surprising 7-6 defeat at the hands of the Maryland Terrapins, hoping for one last hurrah in their ACC swansong.
Coach Fox says he’s been pleased with some of the relief work, especially in the N.C. State elimination game. He says he hopes his bullpen will build confidence moving forward.
“There are some young guys. That’s what the regular season does. It gives those guys experience. I’m proud of them,” Coach Fox says.
The Cavaliers are in the hunt for a top national seeding in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, but the last time these two teams played, it was Carolina emerging victorious on a Sunday up in Charlottesville.
Tar Heel ace Trent Thornton says playing against ACC rivals always gets his team fired up.
“It’s always very intense. That’s what you want against your rivals,” Thornton says.
Coach Fox says he’ll be starting junior slinger Benton Moss on the mound Friday night. Moss has delivered streaky performances up to this point with solid outings scattered in with rocky ones.
Carolina will also be hoping reliable slugger Michael Russell recovers from his thigh injury that removed him from Wednesday night’s contest. The Tar Heels will likely need an impressive offensive display to fight past the high-powered Cavaliers.