Opening Day for the majors brings about new hope and confidence for teams with a fresh slate. As for the North Carolina Tar Heels, a tough series loss last weekend against Florida State requires the team to reset and refocus in this upcoming series. UNC is still hanging around in the Coastal Division standings, and at least a couple of victories versus Wake Forest will help Carolina’s cause.
Here is a breakdown of UNC rankings in the major polls:
- D1Baseball.com Top 25: NR
- NCBWA: 29
- Baseball America: NR
- USA Today Coaches Poll: NR (27th in voting)
- RPI: 10
Take a look at the latest results and updated record:
UNC Baseball Results - Week 6
|3/23/2018||vs. Florida State||W 16-8||14-8|
|3/23/2018||vs. Florida State||L 3-6||14-9|
|3/25/2018||vs. Florida State||L 4-9||14-10|
|3/27/2018||at Charlotte||W 14-2||15-10|
In last weekend’s series, the Saturday game was moved and the Tar Heels and Seminoles played a doubleheader Friday.
In the first game, Carolina jumped on FSU early in the first, scoring five runs on some small ball action. Florida State responded with five runs of their own in the third, including a three-run homer.
UNC and FSU exchanged runs in the third and fourth to make it a 6-6 game when in the fifth Michael Busch hit a two-run shot to put the Tar Heels ahead once again.
Another offensive explosion for UNC came in the seventh with seven runs. Busch homered again and Dylan Enwiller added another dinger. Carolina went on to win 16-8.
ICYMI - Michael Busch came to play yesteday pic.twitter.com/kEGiOxjT3k— Carolina Baseball (@DiamondHeels) March 24, 2018
The second game of the doubleheader featured a pitchers’ duel between Carolina’s Austin Bergner and FSU’s Drew Parrish. They each went six and third innings, each allowing just two runs, and Bergner edging Parrish in the strikeout column 10-9.
UNC started the scoring with a Dallas Tessar solo shot and a Kyle Datres RBI single. Florida State moved ahead with three runs in the seventh.
In the bottom of the ninth, Busch beat a throw to the plate off a Datres double to tie the game and force extra innings. However, three runs by the Seminoles in the 10th was the winning margin.
On Sunday, FSU took the deciding game of the series. Carolina started the scoring with a Cody Roberts homer in the first. Florida State responded in the third with a three-run home run. In the bottom of the inning, UNC tied the game. The teams also traded runs in the fifth.
Closer Josh Hiatt gave up his first run of the season in the late game Friday, and struggled in the eighth on Sunday. He gave up five runs in just two-thirds of an inning, and those five runs were the difference as the Seminoles won 9-4.
UNC Charlotte hosted Carolina in a game at BB&T Ballpark in Uptown Charlotte. The three runs scored by UNC in the first ended up being enough Tuesday evening.
Carolina added four more runs in the fourth, including a Brandon Martorano three-run tater. In the next inning, the Heels extended their lead with another five runs, highlighted by Datres triple that scored two.
Kip Brandenburg capped off the evening with a two-run shot in the ninth to give Carolina a 14-2 victory. Rodney Hutchison earned his third win of the season, allowing two runs on six hits and adding seven Ks.
Below are the team leaders for UNC.
- Batting average: .373 - Kyle Datres (T-5th in ACC)
- Slugging percentage: .607 - Brandon Martorano (7th in ACC)
- Home runs: 7 - Michael Busch (T-4th in ACC)
- RBIs: 38 - Michael Busch (1st in ACC and 1st in the nation)
- Hits: 38 - Kyle Datres (T-4th in ACC)
- Runs: 24 - Kyle Datres (T-3rd in ACC)
- On-base percentage: .458 - Michael Busch
- ERA: 1.35 - Brett Daniels (minimum 10 innings pitched)
- Strikeouts: 37 - Tyler Baum and Austin Bergner
- Innings pitched: 32.0 - Tyler Baum
- Wins: 3 - Tyler Baum (3-0), Brett Daniels (3-0), Rodney Hutchison Jr. (3-1), and Austin Bergner (3-1)
- Saves: 2 - Josh Hiatt
Current ACC Standings
The Tar Heels host the Demon Deacons (11-14) this weekend in Chapel Hill.
Wake Forest is Carolina’s oldest conference opponent in baseball with their first game occuring in 1891. UNC leads the all-time series 160-126-3.
The likely starters for UNC are Tyler Baum and Austin Bergner, while WF will likely start Griffin Roberts, Morgan McSweeney, and Colin Peluse. Both Roberts and Peluse have carried a heavy workload so far this season. They are first and second in the ACC with 41.1 and 41.0 innings pitched. Roberts is the conference leader with 61 strikeouts.
Junior second baseman and a 2017 selection to the All-ACC Second Team Jake Mueller leads Wake Forest with a .351 batting average. Another 2017 All-ACC Second Team member Johnny Aiello is leading his team in home runs (5) and RBIs (22).
If you make it out to the Bosh tonight, be one of the first 500 students or 1,000 fans to pick up one of these sweet jersey shirts:
Tar Heel fans, don't forget this Friday is free shirt Friday at the Bosh. First 1000 general public dans and 500 students will get a free Carolina jersey shirt. Did we mention it's supposed to be 74 degrees on Friday? pic.twitter.com/Rxr90NWhkk— Carolina Baseball (@DiamondHeels) March 28, 2018
Here is the upcoming schedule for the Diamond Heels:
UNC Baseball Upcoming Schedule
|3/30/2018||6:00 PM||vs. Wake Forest|
|3/31/2018||4:00 PM||vs. Wake Forest|
|4/1/2018||2:00 PM||vs. Wake Forest|
|4/3/2018||7:00 PM||vs. South Carolina (BB&T Ballpark)|