Vance Honeycutt is likely to be a first-round pick later this summer. For now, he’s continuing a clutch postseason with more heroics for North Carolina in Friday’s College World Series opener vs. Virginia.

The two ACC rivals met in Omaha to kick off the CWS Friday afternoon in a game that proved to be an elite pitcher’s battle. After trailing the Cavaliers 2-1 through 6 innings, the Tar Heels would tie it up in the bottom of the 7th before heading to the bottom of the 9th tied at 2 apiece.

Then, a leadoff pinch-hit double by Jackson Van De Brake set the table before Honeycutt would step up with 2 outs in the inning. Instead of heading to extras, Honeycutt would lace a clean single through the left side to put UNC in the winner’s bracket and send Virginia to an elimination game.

Here’s how it went down:

While Honeycutt was 0-for-4 ahead of the walk-off hit, pitching to UNC’s star in that scenario is a decision Virginia will dwell on after heading to the elimination bracket.

With the 3-2 victory, the Tar Heels will move on to face the winner of Tennessee vs. Florida State in a winner’s bracket matchup Sunday night at 7 pm ET. Another win on Sunday night would move UNC within a win of the CWS Finals.

Meanwhile, Virginia will be up against elimination in a matchup against the loser of the Tennessee vs. FSU game. That elimination bracket matchup is set for Sunday afternoon at 2 pm.

Key performances

While Honeycutt delivered the clutch hit when needed, he was otherwise held in check during the opener. He finished 1-for-5, but a potentially positive sign for the rest of his time in Omaha is that Honeycutt avoided the strikeout on Friday.

Casey Cook led the Tar Heels with 3 hits in Friday’s game, including a single and run scored in the bottom of the 1st to open the scoring. He also drove in the game-tying run in the 7th inning with an RBI single.

Griff O’Ferrall and Henry Ford drove in runs for Virginia while Ethan Anderson and Henry Godbout scored runs for the Cavs.

Regardless of the offensive performances, the story of this game belonged to the respective pitching staffs. Virginia’s Evan Blanco goes down with a no-decision, but he covered 6.2 innings with just 2 earned runs allowed.

UNC’s Jason Decaro gave up an earned run and struck out 6 in 4 innings pitched, but the standout performance for the Tar Heels belongs to Dalton Pence. He was called upon in the top of the 6th and a runner on 3rd, but Pence was quick to strand the threat.

The lefty would finish the game by covering 3.1 innings pitched without allowing a hit or walk while striking out 2. Just as important, Pence needed just 29 pitches to finish the game with his efficiency stifling the Cavs.