DURHAM — With the poor weather forecast in mind, North Carolina coach Mike Fox joked on Monday that the UNC and N.C. State baseball teams might be in for another long night on Tuesday, just like they were last May amid their 18-inning game in the ACC tournament.
The Tar Heels and Wolfpack, though, never had a chance to play on Tuesday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. While rain poured, leaving plenty of puddles on the tarp that covered the infield, officials postponed the game dubbed the Duel at the DBAP not long before 7:30 p.m.
No make-up date was announced. If the game is played on another day, the tickets sold for Tuesday would be honored on the new date.
Tuesday nights game, which had been scheduled to start at 7, had been the only scheduled regular season meeting between UNC and N.C. State. They played five times a season ago, including three times in the postseason.
All three of those games were memorable. There was UNCs 2-1 victory in 18 innings in the ACC tournament at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, followed by two more games which the teams split in the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
UNC and N.C. State a season ago generated previously unseen local interest in college baseball. Their two regular season games last season, in Raleigh, were sold out, and a crowd of more than 11,000 the largest ever to watch a college baseball game in North Carolina gathered for their game in the ACC tournament.
As that game wore on into the early hours of the morning, a couple thousand remained to watch UNC prevail.
Both teams have struggled this season, but they had no trouble selling tickets for the game that had been scheduled for Tuesday night. Scott Carter, a spokesman for the Durham Bulls, said on Monday that all 10,000 seats had been sold, and that only standing room tickets remained.
Its unclear when, or if, the game might be made up. The next open date for the Durham Bulls Athletic Park that also coincides with an opening on both teams schedules is next Monday.
If the teams played then, it would be UNCs fifth game in six days and N.C. States fourth in four. Both teams would be playing for the fourth straight day. Another possibility is April 30, another Monday, but that is the start of exam week at both UNC and N.C. State, and they generally have avoided weekday games during that time.
The postponement on Tuesday cost both the Tar Heels and Wolfpack an opportunity to build momentum during a critical part of their schedules. After reaching the College World Series last June, each team are in danger of missing the NCAA tournament.
UNC has won two consecutive weekend ACC series, but the Tar Heels rank 84th in the RPI. N.C. State, meanwhile, has lost three of its past four games, and the Wolfpack is 6-12 in the conference.
Carter: 919-829-8944; Twitter: @_andrewcarter