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Will UNC or LSU baseball win the Chapel Hill Regional? Our prediction

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North Carolina baseball is a No. 4 national seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament, but the Tar Heels were dealt a tough draw in the Chapel Hill Regional.

UNC (42-13) is the top seed in the four-team regional competition, including No. 2 LSU (40-21), No. 3 Wofford (41-18) and No. 4 Long Island (33-23).

The Heels will play Long Island in the second game at Boshamer Stadium on Friday at 6 p.m.

The winner of the Chapel Hill Regional will play the winner of the Tucson Regional – including Arizona, Dallas Baptist, Grand Canyon and West Virginia – in a best-of-three series for a spot in the College World Series.

CHAPEL HILL REGIONAL SCHEDULE: UNC baseball faces challenging test for NCAA Tournament’s Chapel Hill Regional

Here are two reasons why UNC baseball will win the Chapel Hill Regional and two reasons why it won’t:

UNC baseball is incredible at Boshamer Stadium

UNC is one of the best teams in the country when it comes to doing business in its field. The Tar Heels are 33-8 in home regionals and have advanced to a super regional ten times since 1999. UNC has won 27 straight games at home this season, finishing 32-2 in Chapel Hill. Stringing together wins against the Heels at home will be tough.

UNC’s Vance Honeycutt is back after missing the 2023 NCAA Tournament

The Tar Heels are another team with star outfielder Vance Honeycutt, the first player in ACC history to reach 50 home runs and 70 stolen bases in his career. An injury caused Honeycutt to miss the final 10 games of UNC’s 2023 season, which ended in the regional round of the NCAA Tournament. As a freshman, the Salisbury native helped the Tar Heels advance to a super regional. Honeycutt, a two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year, has a .314 batting average with 22 home runs and 28 stolen bases through 54 games.

LSU baseball, the reigning NCAA College World Series champions, is lurking

Following their 2023 national championship season, the Tigers got off to a rough start with losses in 12 of their first 15 SEC games. Behind pitchers Luke Holman (9-3, 2.54 ERA) and Gage Jump (6-1, 3.42), along with former NC State star Tommy White (.337 batting average, 24 home runs, 69 RBIs), LSU has won 18 against the last 24 games and nearly defeated No. 1 overall seed Tennessee in the SEC Tournament championship. The Tigers were 6-11 on the road this season, but this group knows what it takes to get to Omaha.

UNC’s battle against the SEC

The Tar Heels are 3-0 against LSU throughout the NCAA Tournament, but UNC has struggled against SEC opponents lately in the postseason. In their last six tournament appearances, the Tar Heels are 3-5 against the SEC, including series losses to Arkansas and Auburn in super regionals in Chapel Hill. UNC lost 2-1 to South Carolina in its only game against an SEC team this season.

NCAA Baseball: Chapel Hill Regional Prediction

UNC baseball loses to LSU: The committee did UNC no favors as the No. 4 national seed, putting the reigning champion Tigers in Chapel Hill. Omaha experience is important, and LSU is one of the most popular teams in the country. The Tigers will be the top team to triumph in the Bosh this weekend.

Writer Rodd Baxley can be reached at [email protected] or @RoddBaxley on X/Twitter.

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