DURHAM, N.C. -- North Carolina advanced to Sunday's ACC Championship behind a 2-1 win over NC State in an 18-inning affair that will go down as the longest game ever played by a UNC team. For the second straight year the UNC-NC State ACC Tournament game set a new state of North Carolina record for collegiate baseball attendance as 11,392 fans saw the longest game in ACC Tournament history.
Carolina will meet Virginia Tech for the ACC Championship at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The game will be televised live on ESPN2.
The two teams combined to strike out the second-most batters ever in an NCAA game as four Carolina pitchers struck out 21 batters, while six NC State pitchers combined to strike out 22 Tar Heels in the marathon contest.
NC State took a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning against Carolina starter Hobbs Johnson when Tarran Senay and Grant Clyde combined for back-to-back doubles.
Johnson matched NC State starter Carlos Rodon pitch for pitch Saturday night as Johnson matched a season high with nine strikeouts in 5.1 innings of work.
The Wolfpack's Rodon carried a no hitter into the seventh inning until Cody Stubbs lined a single through the box for Carolina's first hit of the night. Stubbs would end up stranded but Carolina eventually pushed across the game-tying run thanks to a pair of Wolfpack errors.
Chaz Frank hit a chopper to first baseman Tarran Senay and Senay faked a throw to second before flipping to Rodon covering first but the ball got past Rodon and rolled to the dugout as Zolk scored from second to tie the game.
Trent Thornton kept NC State in check out of the bullpen as he threw 6.2 innings of no-hit ball and struck out seven as he worked through the 12th inning.
Chris McCue followed Thornton on the mound for the Tar Heels and allowed just one hit over three scoreless innings as he stranded the game-winning run at third in both the 13th and 14th innings.
Senior Chris Munnelly came on for the Tar Heels to open the 16th inning for the Tar Heels and struck out the side before stranding the bases loaded in the 17th.
Carolina then struck for the second time in 18 innings in the top of the 18th when Stubbs singled home Lassiter.
NC State's Brett Williams doubled to open the 18th and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Munnelly forced a shallow fly to right field and a weak pop up to second base to keep Williams at third.
Munnelly forced a Logan Ratledge ground out to Colin Moran at third base who threw across the diamond to end the marathon contest.
Chaz Frank finished the game with three hits to lead all hitters as the teams combined for 16 hits in 123 combined at bats.
Carolina will take on Virginia Tech at 1 p.m. Sunday in the ACC Championship game. The last title appearance for the Tar Heels came in 2007 where Carolina claimed its fifth ACC tournament title.