N.C. State will face a familiar foe in #1 national seed North Carolina, a team that narrowly escaped elimination in both the regional and super regional, when the Pack open their first College World Series since 1968.
The Tar Heels had to rally twice to beat Florida Atlantic in the Chapel Hill regional, barely avoiding becoming the first #1 national seed to not make it out of its regional. They came back from a 4-2 deficit to edge South Carolina 5-4 in the decisive third game of the super regional to earn their 10th trip to Omaha. UNC, which finally rounded out the eight-team field after rain prolonged the super regional, has never won the CWS.
The Tar Heels did win two out of three meetings against the Wolfpack earlier in the season, including an 18-inning marathon in the ACC tournament. That was the longest game in ACC tournament history, and N.C. State's 17-inning win over Rice Sunday was the longest game in super regional history.
The triangle teams, the only two ACC squads to make it to Omaha after eight from the league made the field of 64, will open Sunday's bracket play at 3 p.m. on ESPN2.
The winner will get the LSU-UCLA victor Tuesday at 8 p.m.; the losers of opening round bracket play face off in an elimination game Tuesday at 3 p.m. Both Tuesday games will be televised on ESPN.
Indiana, the first Big 10 to make the field in 29 years, Louisville, Mississippi State, and Oregon State comprise the other bracket.
Pack ace Carlos Rodon is likely to match up with the Heels for the third time this season. The sophomore lefty has a 1.08 ERA against UNC in 16.2 innings. Including pitching 10 innings of one-hit ball in the 18-inning loss, Rodon has allowed just eight hits and six walks while fanning 24 against the Heels this season.