Freshman Jason DeCaro is about to join an exclusive group in UNC Baseball history.

It’s evident that Scott Forbes and the UNC baseball program have immense confidence in freshman right-hander Jason DeCaro.

After losing two key starting pitchers to season-ending injuries, the Diamond Heels needed someone to step up as the ace. DeCaro rose to the occasion, quickly becoming the team’s most reliable starter.

Leading the Diamond Heels to an ACC regular-season title, DeCaro has already pitched in significant moments. However, his start in the NCAA Tournament opener against LIU on Friday night will be the biggest of his young career.

By starting Friday, DeCaro will join an exclusive group of UNC baseball true freshmen who have started an NCAA regional opener since the super regional era began in 1999. The previous two are Matt Harvey (2008) and Kent Emanuel (2011).

This season, the North Point, New York native has a 5-1 record with a 3.62 ERA over 15 starts, allowing just 32 earned runs in 79.2 innings and striking out 69 batters while giving up 68 hits.

Despite being a freshman, DeCaro thrives under pressure. As he takes the mound at Boshamer Stadium on Friday night, the Diamond Heels have full faith in their young pitcher, trusting he will do everything possible to secure a victory in their NCAA Tournament regional opener.