Diamond Heels sandwiched between rivals in first USA TODAY Baseball Coaches’ Poll

It’s the first week of February – Super Bowl is right around the corner, basketball season is in full swing and hockey is getting closer to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

February also means gymnastics, swimming, wrestling and – baseball season?

You got it.

Opening Day for the MLB isn’t until Thursday, March 28, with minor leagues to start in early April.

College baseball, however, kicks off with afternoon games on Friday, Feb. 16.

One of the country’s most exciting teams will be the North Carolina Tar Heels. Led by a talented, veteran infield, a deep, power-hitting outfield and a pitching staff amongst one of the most recognizable in recent years, there’s no reason UNC shouldn’t compete atop the ACC.

How do we know college baseball season is right around the corner?

The first USA TODAY NCAA Baseball Coaches’ Poll is out, with the Diamond Heels 15th.

North Carolina is one of six teams in the poll, along with top-ranked Wake Forest, UVA, Clemson, NC State and that team in royal blue – Duke. UNC is actually sandwiched between the Blue Devils (14th) and Wolfpack (16th).

The Diamond Heels begin their 2024 campaign by hosting the Wagner College Seahawks on Friday, Feb. 16 at 4 p.m. ET. North Carolina should sweep this series, but no early-season opponent is ever easy – see the 2023 opener against Seton Hall.

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Story originally appeared on Tarheels Wire