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North Carolina baseball advances to ACC Tournament championship with win over Miami

Heels battled rocky first inning and long rain delay to advance past Miami in the semi-finals.

Photo by Evan Davis

After a rain delay pushed back the start of North Carolina’s semi-final game vs. Miami, freshman starter Luca Dalatri ran into trouble right off the bat. The Hurricanes collected four straight hits in the first inning to make it 3-0, putting the Tar Heels behind for the first time in the tournament.

Fortunately, the Carolina offense continues to fire on all cylinders. Dalatri settled in beautifully while his hitters worked to chip away at the deficit. The Heels put together 11 unanswered runs on their way to taking a commanding lead, and they never looked back.

The Heels got on the board for the first time in the bottom of the first when an error and an RBI ground out resulted in a run. They tied the game in the fourth inning when runners advanced on a wild pitch ahead of a Tyler Lynn sac fly that made it 3-3.

Logan Warmoth remained absolutely on fire, collecting his ninth hit of the tournament so far and driving in runs in the sixth and with a single to make it 5-3 and tripling home two runs that made it 10-3. Kyle Datres also stayed hot at the plate with a two-run double that made it 7-3 Carolina.

Carolina has scored 34 runs in three games of the ACC Tournament so far, and one of those games was shortened to seven innings via the mercy rule in the opening game against Boston College.

Rodney Hutchison Jr. came up big out of the bullpen for the Heels when a rain delay of one hour and 39 minutes forced Dalatri from the game. He’d really pitched well after his bumpy first frame, but the delay was just too long to send him back out. Hutchison tossed three scoreless innings while the offense poured it on.

Miami did get one run back off Bo Weiss in the eighth inning when they loaded the bases with a single and back-to-back walks. An RBI groundout brought in the run. The inning ended with a bunt attempt failed with two strikes and two outs on the Miami batter.

Carolina’s final run of the game was driven in by Brendan Illies, who was batting for just the ninth time this season. He laced a double down the left field line to score Brandon Riley and make it 12-4 Heels. Austin Bergner finished the game off for UNC.

Total game with rain delay included was just north of five hours. The Heels advance to the championship game tomorrow to face Florida State. The Seminoles knocked off Duke in the first semi-final of the day to get there. Go Heels!