The North Carolina baseball team advanced to the semi-finals of the ACC Tournament with a win over NC State on Friday. The Tar Heels won their pool for the right to face Miami at 4:00 pm on Saturday.
Heels ace J.B. Bukauskas cruised through the first inning before the Carolina offense came to the plate for the bottom of the first. It was then that everything fell apart for NC State. Carolina jumped out to an early lead when Brian Miller led off the game with a home run. Three straight hits later, Brandon Riley singled home Logan Warmoth to make it 2-0.
Tyler Lynn popped up a ball in foul territory that would have ended the inning with UNC up 2-0, but State starter Brian Brown dropped the ball. Lynn got another swing and he made Brown pay on the next pitch with a single up the middle that scored Riley and Kyle Datres. It was the beginning of an eight-unearned run outburst.
Brown was unable to get another out and State changed pitchers for the first time in the inning. A wild pitch made it 6-0, a Warmoth single made it 8-0. Ashton McGee reached on an error by the second baseman and Riley singled in two more runs to make it 10-0. State needed to change pitchers twice in the inning to get out of the jam.
Bukauskas did not have his best stuff, and part of that may have something to do with the fact that he sat for so long during the Heels’ big inning. State got back to back doubles and a sac fly in the third inning to make it 10-2. Warmoth had an error at shortstop. Josh McLain launched a solo homer in the fifth inning to make it 12-3, and a sac fly made it 12-4.
Carolina’s Friday starter finished the game having pitched seven innings, allowing three runs on four hits with five strike outs. His offense tallied 12 hits on their way to the big win.
The Tar Heels now get six seed Miami tomorrow afternoon for a chance to play in the championship game on Sunday. Luca Dalatri is your probable starter for the game. Go Heels!