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UNC coach Mike Fox: 'There's a chance' star reliever could return from suspension

North Carolina coach Mike Fox watches during N.C. State's game against UNC on April 17 in Durham. Fox said there's a chance suspended reliever Josh Hiatt could return before the end of the season.
North Carolina coach Mike Fox watches during N.C. State's game against UNC on April 17 in Durham. Fox said there's a chance suspended reliever Josh Hiatt could return before the end of the season. ehyman@newsobserver.com

North Carolina baseball coach Mike Fox said one of his top relief pitchers, Josh Hiatt, could return to the team before the end of the season.

Hiatt was suspended from the team indefinitely last week for “conduct detrimental to the team.” He missed UNC’s three-game series against N.C. State this past weekend.

"No, there's a chance he'll be back," Fox said.

Fox did not say when Hiatt could return, but the Tar Heels (31-13), winners of nine of their last 10 games, have 10 games left in the regular season before the ACC tournament.

The Tar Heels are ranked No. 4 in the NCAA's RPI ranking.

Hiatt, a redshirt sophomore, was a pre-season All-American this season. He has pitched in 17 games this season and has three saves. In 30.1 innings pitched, he has a 2.67 earned run average and 37 strikeouts. Opposing batters are hitting .215 against him.

Fox used two freshmen to close out the three games against the Wolfpack.

In the first game, Joey Lancellotti pitched 1 1/3 innings without giving up a run. In the second game however, he gave up two consecutive home runs before being pulled.

Freshman pitcher Ben Casparius closed out the third game without giving up any hits or runs in two innings.

The Tar Heels won all three games.

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Aleander, 919-829-4822; @jonmalexander
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