The North Carolina baseball team ended the 2019 season in disappointing fashion, falling to Auburn in the final game of the NCAA Chapel Hill Super Regional. UNC gave up 13 runs in the first inning, leading to a season-ending 14-7 loss.
With the release of UNC's 2020 baseball schedule, though, fans can cleanse their palates of the bad taste left from last season by looking ahead to several huge matchups for the Tar Heels in the coming year. Here's what you need to know:
- First, UNC will play 35 of its 56 games at home in Boshamer Stadium. For a team that finished with a home record of 35-8 last season, the importance of playing in front of a partial crowd can't be overstated.
- The season will kick off on Feb. 14 for the first game of a three-game series against Middle Tennessee in Chapel Hill.
- From Feb. 21-23, North Carolina will take on a Dallas Baptist University squad led by left hander Burl Carraway, a member of the USA 2019 Collegiate National Team. Carraway struck out 72 batters in 41.2 innings last season and finished the year with a 2.81 ERA.
- After a battle with North Carolina A&T, the Tar Heels will then head to Minneapolis from Feb. 28 to March 1 for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, with matchups against Minnesota, Iowa and Purdue.
- UNC will open conference play with a home series against Notre Dame from March 6-8. North Carolina outscored the Fighting Irish 26-11 in last year's series between the two teams.
- The Tar Heels will travel to Durham to take on Duke in their first ACC road series of the year from March 13-15. Two of UNC's three games against the Blue Devils last year were decided by just one run.
- The following weekend, North Carolina will return to Boshamer Stadium to face Louisville, one of the eight teams that made it to last year's College World Series. The Cardinals will be led by 2019 ACC Pitcher of the Year Reid Detmers and Lucas Dunn, another member of the 2019 Collegiate National Team.
- After four road games, UNC will host Liberty in a midweek game. The Tar Heels last faced Liberty in the 2019 NCAA Chapel Hill Regional, a 16-1 North Carolina rout.
- From April 17-19, UNC will travel to Raleigh to face conference rival N.C. State. The Tar Heels will look to bounce back from last season's series against the Wolfpack, where they dropped the second game of the series, 11-2, and had their Senior Day spoiled with an 11-0 loss the following game.
- From there, the Tar Heels will have the opportunity to end the year on a high note with 10 of their final 14 games being played in Chapel Hill, featuring series against Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh and Virginia.
North Carolina ended last season ranked No. 14 in the nation by Baseball America. Losing first baseman Michael Busch and ace pitcher Tyler Baum, among others, will play a critical role in the Tar Heels' fight to make it back to Omaha for the first time since 2018.