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Tuesday Baseball Report(3/4)


Last week's results: Def. Appalachian St 12-1, swept North Florida 3-0, 5-1, 8-5
Record this week: 4-0
Record this season: 7-3
Upcoming schedule: 3/5 vs Davidson, 3/7-3/9 vs Pitt

After starting the season 1-3, UNC has righted the ship a bit going 4-0 last week which included a sweep of North Florida.

In the midweek game, UNC jumped all over Applachian State scoring 10 runs in the first three innings. The Tar Heels were helped in large part by five Mountaineer walks in the first inning and four errors in the first two frames. Luis Paula got his first start of the season and gave up one run in 4.2 innings. Taylore Cherry, the hero of UNC's 2013 ACC Championship win, pitched two scoreless innings.

The weekend series saw a change in the pitching rotation. In the previous two weekend series, Benton Moss had started the first game and Trent Thornton the second with freshman Zac Gallen pitching the finale. Mike Fox, whether by design or because of how Moss had pitched, moved Thornton to Friday and Moss pitched on Saturday.

Thornton did not disappoint in his first Friday start going 7.2 inning giving up five hits and striking out six. After Zach Rice gave up a hit in relief of Thornton with two outs in the 8th, Chris McCue came on to record a four out save, his third of the season. Catcher Korey Dunbar's two run home run in the second gave UNC a two run lead and an RBI single by Michael Russell completed UNC's scoring on the day.

On Saturday, Moss threw the first complete game of his UNC career giving up six hits, one run and striking out four as the Heels clinched the series 5-1. UNC got another huge game at the play from Dunbar who followed up his two run home run on Friday with his first career grand slam in the sixth to put the Heels up 4-1. UNC added an extra run in the seventh on a Wood Myers sacrifice fly.

The Sunday finale freshman Zac Gallen was roughed up a bit giving up four runs, three of them earned through six inning as the Heels fell behind 4-1. UNC would rally in the bottom of the sixth plating five runs with two outs to take a 6-4 lead. The Tar Heels added a run in the seventh and eighth, the latter coming on Joe Dudek's first career home run. Chris McCue recorded the game's final five outs including getting a strikeout to end the game with the tying run at the plate.

UNC continues to get strong pitching but some of the expected "big bats" are still not producing. SS Michael Russell is batting .219 while Skye Bolt and Landon Lassiter continue to toil at the plate below the Mendoza line as does Parks Jordan. The Tar Heels have gotten a lift from Korey Dunbar's recent show of power and Wood Myers who leads the team in hitting with a .378 average. For now, UNC has been able to get around to struggling offense because the pitching has been very good. UNC pitching staff has a 1.94 ERA and has walked just 25 batters in 88 innings pitched. Opposing teams are batting just .212 versus the Tar Heels.

The sooner the Russell/Lassiter/Bolt trio starts hitting, the better it will be for this team.