North Carolina and N.C. State will meet on the baseball field this season after all.
And the stakes for this meeting will be about the same as their last in the College World Series 11 months ago.
The Tar Heels and Wolfpack will play an elimination game on Tuesday at 11 a.m. in the ACC tournament in Greensboro. The winner will advance to pool play in the conference tournament.
The loser? Well, either team could sneak into the NCAA tournament field but its more likely the losing team will be headed home for good.
The Tar Heels ended the Wolfpacks season last year in Omaha, Neb., 7-0 in in the CWS, one of five games between the two teams, including three in the postseason. Due to an ACC oversight, the teams were not scheduled to meet in ACC play this season.
After so many good games the previous two seasons, in front of big crowds, the two schools had agreed to play one game in Durham on April 15. That game got rained out and neither side could agree on a makeup date. The rivals have played every year since 1918 and that streak was in jeopardy until both teams moved into seeding position in the last week of regular-season conference play.
The Wolfpack (32-22) lost 8-5 at Virginia Tech on Saturday but had already clinched a spot in the conference tournament with two wins on Friday. The Pack finished the ACC scheduled at 13-17 and will be the No. 10 seed.
The Tar Heels (32-23) lost 2-0 to Miami on Saturday and with a 15-15 ACC record are the No. 7 seed.
Duke (32-23) beat Florida State 7-5 on Saturday and will be the No. 4 seed after a 16-14 ACC season. Saturdays win matched a school record for the Blue Devils for ACC wins and it will be their first time in the ACC tournament since 2009.
With the addition of Pittsburgh and Notre Dame (Syracuse doesnt have a baseball team), the ACC expanded the tournament to 10 teams. The league had originally decided to change back to a double-elimination format but subsequently decided to go back to the pool play format that it has used since 2007.
The winner of the UNC-State game will advance to Pool B with Florida State (No. 2 seed), Virginia (No. 3) and Maryland (No. 6).
The second play-in game on Tuesday is between Wake Forest (the No. 8 seed) and Georgia Tech (No. 9). The winner will join No. 1 Miami, No. 4 Duke and No. 5 Clemson in Pool A. The pool play is round robin and the two teams with the best record meet on Sunday at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro for the championship.