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May 1, 2012As North Carolina prepares for its key late season ACC stretch and another possible run to Omaha, the Diamond Heels are finally getting back one of its best players.
UNC head coach Mike Fox confirmed Monday night in his weekly radio show that the team will welcome hard-hitting infielder Colin Moran back to the lineup Wednesday night, when the Heels return to action at Boshamer Stadium against Winthrop.
"He (Moran) has been officially cleared as of (Monday) by the Doctors so he's full speed ahead," Fox said. "It's going to be a big boost to our team and I hope it rejuvenates our whole team offensively."
Moran is unquestionably Carolina's top offensive threat, having driven in 24 runs in just 22 games before fracturing two metacarpals in his right hand in late March. He was also hitting .389 at the time with two home runs.
The Tar Heels have struggled at several key points scoring runs over the last 21 games, so Moran's return is obviously very much welcomed.
"We're getting our best hitter, hands down. We're getting a competitor. Just the presence in the middle of that order," Coach Fox said.
There won't be any 'bring him back slowly' in this particular situation, as Moran is being inserted right back in the middle of the lineup in his return Wednesday night.
He'll be making the start at third base.
"I'm going to plug him right back in the three-hole. We're not going to mess around. We're going to put him back in there and he's going to have to deal with the live pitching stuff," Coach Fox said.
The Tar Heels are sitting in good position, currently sitting atop the ACC's Coastal Division with a 13-8 conference record with three remaining series against Boston College, Duke and Virginia Tech, who all have losing records in league play.
With its toughest series against the likes of Virginia, Georgia Tech, and Miami completed, the Diamond Heels are in excellent shape to once again host Regionals and Super Regionals in hopes of advancing to the program's sixth College World Series in the last seven years.
The great thing from Moran and UNC's standpoint is that the slugger will have several weeks to get back into the groove, just when the team will need him the most.