The North Carolina Tar Heels opened their three-game series with the No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers in grand fashion Thursday, shutting out the nation’s top-ranked team 6-0. Friday, they dealt the Wahoos a 2-1 loss for their first series loss of the season. Saturday, the Tar Heels won another nailbiter, 3-2, to cap off the sweep. It is the first time Virginia has been broomed in a series since 2008.
North Carolina swept their fifth opponent of the 2011 season, but none was nearly as impressive as this three-game set. Virginia Cavaliers SP Will Roberts entered play with a pristine 17-0 mark for his career, but the Tar Heels helped him to his first collegiate loss.
Freshman 3B Colin Moran stepped up his play Saturday, going a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate with two doubles and a pair of RBIs. He had two of the four extra-base hits on the day for the Tar Heels. Moran also added to his ACC-leading total with 67 RBIs.
We mentioned Roberts, who lasted just 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and seven hits. However, how about the performance of UNC SP Chris Munnelly? He allowed just two earned runs, four hits and two walks while striking out three in the six-inning performance. Munnelly came into the game with five wins in nine decisions, but he looked sharp in the quality outing. RP Greg Holt came on for another dominant 1 1/3 innings of relief, and RP Michael Morin capped off the game with a scoreless ninth inning for his eight save, and second of the three-game set. He is the first closer since former Tar Heel Andrew Carignan in 2007 to rack up at least eight saves. Morin has been a vital piece of the Carolina bullpen down the stretch.
Despite losing the final three games of the regular season in Chapel Hill, the Cavaliers head into the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship as the top-seed. Play is set to begin at Durham Bulls Athletic Park Wednesday, May 25. The Tar Heels elevated their status with the three huge wins, moving up to the fourth seed. They’ll be in Pool A with Virginia, along with No. 5 Miami (Fla.) and No. 8 Wake Forest. In Pool B, No. 2 Florida State sits atop the group, with No. 3 Georgia Tech, No. 6 Clemson and No. 7 North Carolina State rounding out the combatants.
The ACC Tournament schedule will be announced Sunday at 3pm ET.
Pool A Pool B
No. 1 Virginia No. 2 Florida State
No. 4 North Carolina No. 3 Georgia Tech
No. 5 Miami (Fla.) No. 6 Clemson
No. 8 Wake Forest No. 7 North Carolina State