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North Carolina Baseball: Weekend Series in Review - Duke

The Tar Heels won their tenth ACC series in a row.

NCAA Men's College World Series

After losing the opening game of the series, the Tar Heels rallied to win the remaining two games to earn the series win over the Blue Devils. UNC had to go to extra innings on Friday evening, but Tyler Lynn came through with another walk-off hit to pick up the victory. On Senior Day, North Carolina built an early six-run lead, and held on after a late Duke rally, to win the series. The Tar Heels won every series over each ACC opponent they faced this season. UNC improved their record to 44-11 overall and 23-7 in the ACC. Let’s take a look back at each of the games:

Thursday

North Carolina - 4, Duke - 8

The North Carolina bats had a tough time getting anything going in the opening game against Duke. The Tar Heels were limited to only three hits in the game.

Thursday’s starter, Taylor Sugg, gave up two runs in the 2nd inning to give Duke the early 2-0 advantage. However, the Tar Heels put up four runs in the 4th inning to take back the lead at 4-2. Unfortunately, that lead would not last for long, as the Blue Devils scored four more runs over the next two innings.

Duke’s six runs were all that they needed, as the Tar Heels were not able to put up any more runs in the game. The Blue Devils’ bullpen did not give up any runs (only one hit) in 5.2 innings of work.

Friday

North Carolina - 3, Duke - 2 (10 Innings)

J.B. Bukauskas stepped to the mound on Friday looking to help the Tar Heels even the series back up at one game apiece. Bukauskas got off to a slow start (for his standards), giving up a run in each of the first two innings; however, he settled down and did not allow any further runs in his seven innings of work. He finished the game giving up only four hits and striking out eight Duke batters.

Trailing 2-0, Ashton McGee and the Tar Heels cut the Blue Devils lead to only one run. McGee, who went 2-5 in the game, scored Brian Miller on an RBI single to make it 2-1.

In the 7th inning, with UNC still trailing by a run, Adam Pate (who was pinch running for Michael Busch) tied it up on Miller’s ground out. North Carolina’s closer, Josh Hiatt, entered the game to keep Duke off the scoreboard for three innings, as the score remained tied at 2-2 heading into the bottom of the 10th inning.

With the bases loaded and only one out, Tyler Lynn stepped to the plate looking to end the game, like he had a few weeks earlier against Clemson. Lynn came through once again for the Tar Heels, as he hit an infield single that would score McGee for the extra innings victory.

Saturday

North Carolina - 9, Duke - 7

North Carolina entered Saturday’s game looking to take the series from Duke and close out the regular season by winning each of their ACC series.

It looked like the Tar Heels were going to cruise to the victory, after scoring in each of the first five innings to take a commanding 7-1 lead. The UNC offense was led by Brian Miller, who went 4-5 in the game, and Ashton McGee (2-4 and 2 RBI). Zach Gahagan also contributed to the offensive outburst with a home run (7th of the season).

However, the Blue Devils battled back to keep it within striking distance. Duke scored three runs in the top of the 6th inning off of UNC’s starter, Luca Dalatri, to cut the lead to 7-4. Dalatri finished the game giving up four runs on seven hits while striking out three batters.

If UNC fans were not sweating already in the 90 degree heat, Duke added to it by cutting into the North Carolina lead even further. In the top of the 7th inning, Duke got three hits in a row to cut the lead to 7-5. Josh Hiatt came in for the Tar Heels to help quiet the Blue Devils’ bats; however, it was a couple of Duke base running errors that helped UNC escape the inning still with a two-run lead.

North Carolina added two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to make the score 9-5 heading into the 9th inning. Once again, Duke put the pressure on the Tar Heels by scoring two runs of their own to close the gap to 9-7. A nice defensive play by Logan Warmoth and some good pitching from UNC’s relief pitcher, Austin Bergner, helped the Tar Heels finish the game with the 9-7 series-clinching victory.

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