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NCAA baseball pairings: Where and who UNC, N.C. State, Duke, Wake, ECU play this weekend

North Carolina received the No. 4 national seed with N.C. State at No. 10 for the NCAA baseball tournament that begins Friday.

The Tar Heels (42-13) and Wolfpack will both begin their path toward the College World Series at home with four-team, double-elimination regionals.

ACC champion Duke will head to the Norman Regional where No. 9 national seed Oklahoma is the host school. The Blue Devils (39-18) will play Connecticut while Oklahoma will face Oral Roberts on Friday.

East Carolina (43-15) received the No. 16 national seed and will host a Greenville Regional that includes Wake Forest, Virginia Commonwealth and Evansville. Wake will play VCU in its first game.

The Chapel Hill Regional will also feature Long Island (33-23), Wofford (41-18) and LSU (40-21). The Tar Heels will play Long Island while Wofford and LSU will play Friday.

N.C. State’s Ryan Matthews hoists up head coach Elliott Avent following the Pack’s 9-7 win over Vanderbilt during the NCAA Baseball Raleigh Regional championship Monday, June 4, 2012.
N.C. State’s Ryan Matthews hoists up head coach Elliott Avent following the Pack’s 9-7 win over Vanderbilt during the NCAA Baseball Raleigh Regional championship Monday, June 4, 2012.

The Wolfpack (33-20) will open Raleigh Regional play against Bryant with James Madison (34-23) and South Carolina (36-23) matching up in the first round of the double-elimination event.

The winner of the Raleigh Regional will advance to the Athens Super Regional should the No. 7-seeded Georgia Bulldogs with their regional.

The Pack has not won an ACC title since 1992 but went to Truist Field in Charlotte believing it was playing the best baseball in the league. N.C. State closed the regular season with ACC series wins over Virginia and Wake Forest and was 10-4 in its past five ACC series.

“It’s been as incredible a stretch of good baseball as any team I’ve had the pleasure of coaching,” NCSU coach Elliott Avent said Thursday after an 8-1 loss to Duke. ”They’ve been playing really, really well.”

The Pack ignited for 19 runs and 20 hits in its first game at Charlotte, ripping Virginia Tech 19-9, but was muzzled by Duke starter Andrew Healy and the Blue Devils.

Despite the disappointing defeat — the Wolfpack lost to Duke 1-0 in the 2021 ACC title game in Charlotte — N.C. State has more baseball to play. In ‘21, the Pack reached the College World Series, beating top-seeded Arkansas in the Super Regional, only to have a bitterly disappointing end to that season. But that’s another story.

The Pack will go into the NCAAs with starting pitchers Sam Highfill, Dom Fritton and Logan Whitaker ready to go and an effective bullpen led by closer Derrick Smith. The Wolfpack has just three .300 hitters - one of the three, outfielder Josh Hogue, is out for the season – but has capable hitting throughout the lineup.

Catcher Jacob Cozart and third baseman Alec Makarewicz have been the offensive leaders. Cozart was a first-team All-ACC choice and Makarewicz, a graduate transfer from East Carolina, has hit a team-best .373 and leads the Pack in homers (19) and RBIs (71).

Freshman Alex Sosa has added another dangerous bat to the lineup. After batting mononucleosis and the flu, Sosa had an 0-for-37 streak, but the designated hitter has bounced back strongly, going 10-for-26 in his last eight games with four homers and 15 RBis.

“We’ve got some bumps and bruises, as all teams do,” Avent said after the loss to Duke. “We’ll go home and take a couple of days off and get focused for the regional.”