After suffering back-to-back losses at the hands of NC State and Liberty, the UNC baseball team headed up to Pittsburgh looking to get back to their winning ways. Dominant pitching from J.B. Bukauskas and Luca Dalatri in the first two games helped the Heels take the first two games and the series from the Panthers. UNC improved their record to 31-9 overall and 16-5 in the ACC.
Let’s take a look back at each of the games:
North Carolina - 5, Pittsburgh - 2
The Tar Heels fell behind early 1-0, after Pittsburgh got on the board in the 1st inning against Bukauskas and the Heels. However, Bukauskas would settle down and not allow another run until the 7th inning.
The UNC bats got going in the 4th inning, as they put three runs on the board to take a 3-1 lead. Tyler Lynn picked up an RBI single in the inning to tie the game up at 1-1, and Logan Warmoth added two RBI in the inning with a single of his own.
Lynn later added a couple more RBI (three total on the day) to put the Heels up 5-2. Brandon Riley also had a big day at the plate for UNC, going 3-5 and scoring two runs in the game. Josh Hiatt came on in the 7th inning to pick up his 11th save of the season. Bukauskas finished with eight strikeouts in getting his ACC-leading seventh win of the season.
North Carolina - 3, Pittsburgh - 1
Saturday’s match-up between the two starting pitchers was a classic pitchers’ duel, as neither offense could get much going against the two starters. Pittsburgh’s Josh Falk did not allow a hit until the 8th inning, while North Carolina’s Luca Dalatri only gave up one single through the first six innings.
The Tar Heels eventually put three runs on the board in the 8th inning after Brandon Riley (his single was the first hit of the game for UNC) scored from third on a wild pitch from Falk. Brian Miller then hit a double to the outfield that added two more runs in the inning to give the Heels the 3-0 lead.
The three runs were all that Dalatri needed in his stellar performance. He nearly got the complete game victory, but he was replaced by Hiatt with two outs in the 9th inning. Dalatri finished the game giving up only one run and three hits while striking out five batters. Hiatt, who picked up his 12th save of the season, struck out the only batter he faced in the 3-1 victory for North Carolina.
North Carolina - 9, Pittsburgh - 11
The Tar Heels raced out to a quick 4-0 lead on the Panthers in the top of the first inning and looked to be headed to a series sweep. However, Pittsburgh’s offense responded, as they jumped on two of UNC’s pitchers, Austin Bergner and Rodney Hutchison Jr., for ten runs in the first five innings.
The UNC bullpen managed to only give up one further run, as the Panthers took a 11-5 lead heading into the final inning.
UNC’s offense refused to go quietly, as the Tar Heels added four runs in the top of the 9th to cut Pittsburgh’s lead to only two runs. However, the Heels came up just short in their comeback attempt, leaving the tying runs on base. The top of the lineup for UNC had another big game, as the first four batters had eight hits in the game. Brian Miller led the way for the offense going 3-4 with four RBI, while Riley added three RBI of his own.
Despite the loss, North Carolina remains four games ahead of Virginia for first place in the ACC Coastal Division.