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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 got a tough draw in the Chapel Hill Regional. 

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

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

The winner of the Chapel Hill Regional will play the winner of the Tucson Regional — which includes 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 draws 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 it won’t: 

UNC baseball is incredible at Boshamer Stadium 

UNC is one of the best teams in the nation at taking care of business on its field. The Tar Heels are 33-8 in home regional games and have advanced to a super regional 10 times since 1999. UNC won 27 games in a row at home this season and finished 32-2 in Chapel Hill. It’ll be tough to string together wins against the Heels at home. 

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

The Tar Heels are a different team with star outfielder Vance Honeycutt, the first player in ACC history to reach 50 home runs and 70 stolen bases in a 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 champion, is lurking 

Following their national-championship season in 2023, 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 N.C. State star Tommy White (.337 batting average, 24 home runs, 69 RBIs), LSU has won 18 of its last 24 games and nearly knocked off 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 reach Omaha. 

UNC’s struggles against the SEC 

The Tar Heels are 3-0 all-time against LSU in the NCAA Tournament, but UNC has struggled against SEC opponents of late 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 held in Chapel Hill. UNC lost 2-1 to South Carolina this season in its only game against an SEC team.

NCAA baseball: Chapel Hill Regional prediction 

UNC baseball loses to LSU: The committee didn’t do UNC any favors as the No. 4 national seed, putting the reigning champion Tigers in Chapel Hill. Omaha experience matters, and LSU is one of the hottest teams in the nation. The Tigers will prevail as the top team at the Bosh this weekend. 

Staff writer Rodd Baxley can be reached at rbaxley@fayobserver.com or @RoddBaxley on X/Twitter.

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