CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – None of the University of Maine baseball players ever had competed in an NCAA Regional.

And no matter how much the players talked about it and prepared for it, the bigger stage affected them early Friday night, and cost them the game.

A four-run first inning was all North Carolina needed in a 4-0 victory against the Black Bears in the opening round at Boshemer Stadium.

Jacob Stallings hit a three-run homer and Jesse Wierzbicki had an RBI single for the Tar Heels (46-14), the national No. 3 seed.

Maine (32-23), seeded fourth in the regional, was playing in the NCAAs for the first time since 2006. In contrast, the Tar Heels have a nation’s-best 32 NCAA tournament wins since 2006, including a 13-0 record at home.

Maine played in front of a crowd of 2,269 that included Chapel Hill residents Nomar Garciaparra and Mia Hamm.

“It’s tough to simulate this atmosphere for us,” Maine Coach Steve Trimper said. “We have some tough kids and we really try and put a bubble over our team, but that first three, four minutes — if we could just take that back.”

The Black Bears will face Florida International (40-19-1) in an elimination game at 1 p.m. today.

Keith Bilodeau (10-3), going for a Maine-record 11th win, shook off a rough start to allow three hits over the next six innings. He walked two and struck out six, but after 100 pitches was left bemoaning the one to Stallings, the son of Vanderbilt basketball coach Kevin Stallings.

“We called for a cutter outside and I missed middle in,” said Bilodeau, who last gave up more than three runs on March 26. “He couldn’t have taken a better pitch to hit.”

Maine had hits in the first six innings and put the leadoff batter on four times, but couldn’t score against 6-foot-5 freshman left-hander Kent Emanuel (7-1), who allowed seven hits and one walk in eight innings.

Taylor Lewis went 2 for 3 and Joey Martin went 2 for 4 as Maine outhit North Carolina 7-5 but could only manage singles.

“I thought we had pretty good at-bats,” said Martin, the team’s only senior starter. “Like Coach said, we were just lacking that one big hit in that one big spot.”

The first two innings foreshadowed what kind of night it would be for the Black Bears’ offense.

Lewis reached on an infield single to lead off the game, but was picked off first when he slid but failed to make it back to the base.

In the second, Taylor Patzalek and Justin Leisenheimer started off with singles, bringing up Alex Calbick. But Calbick failed to get a bunt down and wound up grounding into a double play.

Ian Leisenheimer then struck out looking with Patzalek on third.

Maine, which had won 17 of 18 entering the NCAAs, now needs to win four straight to advance to the super regionals.

It will send Jeffrey Gibbs (6-4, 3.69) to the mound to face Florida International, which leads the NCAA in hits.

“(Gibbs) has got electric stuff,” Trimper said. “He can go out and one-hit them — he’s done it before. We have a full bullpen so don’t count us out. We’re going to win (today) and try to win the next day.”

JAMES MADISON 11, FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL 7: Jake Lowery homered and drove in three runs to lead James Madison past Florida International in the opening game of the Chapel Hill Regional.

David Herbek finished with two RBI and drove in the go-ahead run during a six-run seventh inning that put the third-seeded Dukes ahead for good and extended the nation’s longest active win streak to 10.

Five players homered for second-seeded FIU: Garrett Wittels, Jabari Henry, Pablo Bermudez, Yoandy Barroso and Mike Martinez. The Panthers had lost only twice in their previous 23 games.