Monday Baseball Report(2/24)

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Last week's results: Won series vs Xavier 1-2, 2-1, 3-2
Record this week: 2-1
Record this season: 3-3
Upcoming schedule: 2/25 vs Appalachian State, 2/28-3/2 vs North Florida

The Tar Heels moved to .500 for the season taking two of three games from Xavier, the last one in dramatic fashion.

On Friday, UNC got a solid outing from Benton Moss who went 7.1 IP and gave up two earned runs which proved to be the extent of the Musketeer offense on the day. However the Tar Heel bats were largely silent. Xavier's Adam Hall held UNC to just four hits and one run in six innings followed by three no-hit innings from the bullpen to take the first game 2-1.

The Heels bounced back on Saturday behind Trent Thornton. The Tar Heel ace pitched 6.2 innings giving up one earned run and striking out six. Zach Rice finished the seventh inning getting a strikeout with a runner on base. Chris McCue pitched two no-hit innings to collect his second save of the season. UNC's offense was again limited getting only five hits on the day but still managing to find enough runs to tie the series.

The series finale saw UNC follow much the same script as the first two games. The pitching was good holding Xavier to just  a pair of runs. Freshman Zac Gallen had another impressive start giving up one run in 6.2 innings and striking out eight. However the offense again struggled to produce, until the ninth inning. With UNC trailing 2-0, the Tar Heels rallied for three runs to win the game and the series. Here is how the ninth inning went via UNC's press release.

Wood Myers led off the bottom of the ninth against Xavier closer Daniel Przeniczny and fell behind 1-2 before singling up the middle to give UNC the leadoff runner on for just the second time all day. Przeniczny then hit Lassiter with a first-pitch breaking ball to put the tying run aboard with no one out.

After a Skye Bolt sacrifice put both runners in scoring position, Xavier elected to intentionally walk Michael Russell to get to Parks Jordan. But Przeniczny's 2-1 pitch to Jordan skipped off Rizzie's leg and to the backstop to allow Myers to score, and XU put Jordan on to set up a potential double play.

After Alex Westrick came on to replace Przeniczny, Raburn, who'd entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, lined an 0-2 pitch to left to score Lassiter and tie the game. One pitch later, Pate got his first career hit to win it, as his grounder to the left side was fielded by Andre Jernigan, who had no play.

The Heels are now 3-3 overall and through six games there is a common theme. The pitching is good but the offense lacking. As a team UNC is batting .227 through six games and have just two players batting over .300. Landon Lassister, who was UNC's second best hitter a year ago is currently batting .158. Skye Bolt is batting .211 and has just two RBIs. At present UNC is being carried offensively by freshmen Adrian Chacon and Wood Myers with Michael Russell contributing 5 RBIs. Overall the pitching has been good enough. If that continues and the offense comes to life, UNC should see a marked improvement in the results. Lassiter and Bolt haven't been hitting well but it should just be a matter of time before that starts happening.

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