UNC star closer Dalton Pence was the biggest pitching factor in Monday night win

Before Monday night’s Chapel Hill Regional Final, UNC head baseball coach Scott Forbes said “all his horses would be ready to go.”

In this case, Forbes referred to his star-studded bullpen, which includes 12-game winner Matthew Matthijs and star closer Dalton Pence.

North Carolina ended up starting the game with freshman ace Jason DeCaro, who tossed two innings of 2-hit, 2-run ball, then turned to Matthijs for 4 1/3 innings. After giving up a go-ahead home run to Jared Jones in the third inning, Matthijs only allowed one hit the rest of his outing.

Pence, normally the Diamond Heels’ ninth inning, came into the game with one goal – limit LSU’s power-hitting lineup.

Pence did exactly that, hurling 3 2/3 innings while only allowing one hit and two walks, on a season-high 63 pitches. This included facing the likes of Jared Jones and Jake Brown, who homered for the Tigers earlier in the night.

It’s no surprise to Tar Heel Nation that UNC named Pence its Player of the Game.

Even with how well Pence pitched, it wouldn’t be a postseason baseball game without a little late-inning drama.

Pence quickly retired Tommy White and Steven Milam, then walked Jared Jones, who took second on a wild pitch. Josh Pearson, the possible final out, sent a deep fly ball to center field.

The ball looked like it could’ve gone out of Boshamer Stadium, but North Carolina star center fielder Vance Honeycutt made a great catch to send UNC onto the Super Regionals.

You can bet the Diamond Heels will call on Pence for more clutch situations in the Super Regionals.

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Story originally appeared on Tarheels Wire