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Monday Baseball Report(4/23)

Last Week’s Results: Defeated High Point, lost to Liberty, lost series to Georgia Tech 1-2
Record Last Week: 2-3
Overall Record: 29-12
ACC Record: 13-8 1st place in Coastal Division
Upcoming Schedule: 4/24 vs UNCG, 4/25 vs East Carolina

Mixed bag.

It is a week like this where you see UNC lose a pair of games by two runs and you are forced to wonder whether having Colin Moran may have been worth at least one win, maybe two. Then there is Michael Russell's major struggle at third base in the series opener versus Georgia Tech(two errors and poorly played bunt all in one inning) and Moran's return cannot come quick enough. Not that the team is in a bad place. The Heels backed into outright possession of first place in the Coastal Division despite losing two of three to the Yellow Jackets because Miami was swept by Florida State.

During the two midweek games, UNC handled High Point 10-5 getting three RBIs from Chaz Frank and Shane Taylor pitching five innings for the win. On Wednesday the Heels fell to Liberty 5-3 with Chris Munnelly getting the rare midweek start giving up two earned runs in five innings. After that the pitching parade took over and the bullpen gave up one in the eighth and two in the ninth to give Liberty a 5-2 lead which the Flames held onto despite the Heels threatening in the ninth.

The weekend series with Georgia Tech was very "UNC playing Georgia Tech" if you know what I mean. The opener saw Kent Emanuel give up four runs in five innings. The game was still within reach following a two run fifth for the Heels then got out of hand rather quickly with seven Yellow Jacket runs in the seventh and eighth innings. The Jackets' Buck Farmer has owned UNC since last season and that dominance continued.

Due to impending rain on Sunday, UNC opted for a doubleheader on Saturday taking the first game 12-6. Instead of trying to describe what the Heels' first at bat was like allow me to instead to give you the play-by-play from the bottom of the first.

North Carolina 1st - Frank, C. doubled down the rf line (2-2). Holberton, B flied out to cf (0-1). Russell, M. singled to right field (3-2); Frank, C. advanced to third. Russell, M. advanced to second on a wild pitch; Frank, C. scored on a wild pitch. Coyle, T. walked (3-2). Stallings, J doubled to center field, RBI (1-2); Coyle, T. advanced to third, scored on an error by cf; Russell, M. scored. Griffin, A. singled through the left side (0-0); Stallings, J advanced to third. Zolk, M. singled to pitcher, bunt, RBI (0-0); Griffin, A. advanced to second, advanced to third on a throwing error by p; Stallings, J scored. Stubbs, C. singled to right field, RBI (0-1); Zolk, M. advanced to second; Griffin, A. scored. Jordan, P. singled to right field (1-2); Stubbs, C. advanced to second; Zolk, M. advanced to third. Frank, C. struck out swinging (1-2). Holberton, B doubled to center field, 3 RBI (0-2); Jordan, P. scored; Stubbs, C. scored; Zolk, M. scored. Russell, M. struck out swinging (2-2). 8 runs, 8 hits, 2 errors, 1 LOB.

That was more than enough despite Benton Moss giving up four runs(two earned) to collect his fourth win of the season.

The rubber game of the series saw fewer runs as the Jackets won 4-2. UNC took a 2-0 lead through the middle innings before Georgia Tech scored two in the seventh off starter Hobbs Johnson. The normally reliable Michael Morin had a rough 2.2 innings of working giving up six hits and two runs. The Heels went quietly in the final two innings with Tommy Coyle's one out walk in the eighth producing the only base runner.

UNC has the benefit of an off weekend in ACC play which will could mean Moran will return for the Heels' May 4-6 series with Boston College, if not sooner. Based on the timetable given for Morna's recovery, this past weekend was given as a possible return date. Obviously that did not happen but a return to ACC play in two weeks is certainly a strong possibility. UNC has nine ACC games left on the schedule, six of them coming at home and a road trip to Durham. The Heels will need to close out strong to keep themselves in position to grab a national seed in the NCAA Tournament.