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Monday Baseball Report(5/12)


Last Week's Results: Defeated Campbell 5-0, Elon 12-6. Lost series to FSU 0-7, 2-10, 5-4
Record Last Week: 3-2
Record This Season: 30-21, 14-13 ACC
Schedule This Week: 5/13 at Gardner-Webb, 5/15-5/17 at Miami

All things considered it wasn't a bad week for UNC baseball. A second win against Florida State would have been nice but avoiding the sweep was important as the Heels struggle to stay on the right side of the NCAA bubble.

UNC returned to action after a week off with a pair of non-conference wins. The Heels shutout Campbell 5-0 behind six innings from Zac Gallen and three from Trevor Kelley. The pair combined for nine strikeouts, two walks and scattered six hits. Skye Bolt went 3-5 with an RBI. Tom Zengel, Tyler Ramirez and Parks Jordan also drove in a run each.

On Wednesday the Heels made a rare midweek road trip with a game at Elon. This game had some off-the-field drama with Bolt and Landon Lassiter failing to start because they were late to the team meal. Michael Russell was suspended for a violation of team rules. As it turns out UNC didn't really need the trio. UNC scored fives runs in the first on the way to a 12-6 win. Ramirez had a big game with three hits and an RBI. Parks Jordan and Joe Dudek drove in three runs each. Dudek's offensive production came on a three run homer in the first inning.

The weekend series with Florida State saw the UNC pitchers struggle with control and the Seminoles take advantage outscoring UNC 17-2 to take the first two games and the series. Trent Thornton gave up three runs in only five innings of work and was pulled after throwing 92 pitches. Thornton's wild pitch in the second resulted in two runs and catcher's Joe Dunbar's apparent struggles finding the ball led to Mike Fox yanking him in favor of Adam Chacon. Saturday wasn't much better with another wild pitch, this time from A.J. Bogucki who also hit a batter to go along with a pair of HBP from Benton Moss. UNC used six pitchers on Saturday who combined for 215 pitches and eight walks.

On Sunday, the Heels opened up a 4-0 lead before allowing FSU back in the game thanks in part to more wild pitches and hit batters. Reilly Hovis, who came in in the fifth to relieve Zac Gallen threw a pair of errant balls, one of which tied the game at 4-4 in the sixth. The Heels managed to manufacture a run in the seventh with Ramirez driving in Jordan to give the Heels the lead for good and a 5-4 win on Senior Day.

UNC salvaging at least one win from the FSU series cannot be overstated. The Heels are now 14-13 in ACC play and presently sitting in sixth place which would avoid the play-in game. The issue now is UNC probably needs to one, possibly two wins versus Miami to stay out of the play-in game. Maryland is at 15-14 on the season and a game ahead of the Heels. However Maryland also is done with ACC play and will finish a game short because of a rain-out against Clemson. If UNC finishes at 15-15 they would technically be a half-game behind the Terps. Also on the radar is Clemson. The Tigers are 13-13 and play Boston College this weekend. A sweep is possible there putting the Tigers at 16-13. UNC also needs at least one win to finish ahead of Georgia Tech and two wins plus an FSU sweep of Duke to finish ahead of the Blue Devils. In short, two wins does the Heels a lot of good in the ACC standings but could be tough to come by given UNC's history versus Miami.

As for the NCAA Tournament, Warren Nolan has UNC at #47 in the RPI after the Sunday games. Baseball America's Aaron Fitt continues to show UNC on the "in" side of the NCAA Tournament bubble and snagging one win from FSU helps that cause. The Heels need at least one win against Miami(and not lose to Gardner-Webb midweek) to keep the momentum going.