A weekend sweep, bookended by two non conference victories, have the North Carolina Tar Heels streaking as face divisional rival Miami this weekend in Coral Gables. Carolina needs to pounce on the struggling Hurricanes, who have lost five straight. UNC is a game behind for the Coastal lead, and a series win against a Coastal opponent will be a big boost for the Heels.
Here is a breakdown of UNC rankings in the major polls:
- D1Baseball.com Top 25: NR
- NCBWA: 27
- Baseball America: NR
- USA Today Coaches Poll: NR
- RPI: 11
Here are the latest results and updated record:
UNC Baseball Results - Week 7
|3/30/2018||vs. Wake Forest||W 3-2||16-10|
|3/31/2018||vs. Wake Forest||W 6-1||17-10|
|4/1/2018||vs. Wake Forest||W 8-6||18-10|
|4/3/2018||vs. South Carolina||W 11-3||19-10|
The opening game of the series versus Wake Forest was reminiscent of the thrillers of last season for UNC. Carolina started early, a common trend as of late this season, with a Brandon Riley RBI single in the first.
Wake Forest scored twice in the top of the fourth, and Ashton McGee responded with a RBI single in the bottom half of the fourth to knot the game at two apiece.
An entire game would pass before another runner crossed home. Each team had a few chances before the game reached extra innings. The best of these opportunities was a deep ball hit by Brandon Martorano in the bottom of the ninth that was caught on the warning track.
The Tar Heels broke the deadlock in the bottom of the 15th off the bat of Riley once again, scoring Cody Roberts on a chopper over the shortstop.
In case you missed it, here’s the walk off RBI single from Brandon Riley to beat Wake Forest 3-2 in 15 innings. pic.twitter.com/SWSy6UKytH— Carolina Baseball (@DiamondHeels) March 31, 2018
UNC received some good innings from Tyler Baum, Brett Daniels, Josh Hiatt, and Cooper Criswell. Baum allowed four hits and two runs, along with six strikeouts, in seven innings of work. Hiatt, UNC’s closer, pitched the most innings in one game of his career. He threw five and two-thirds scoreless innings while striking out eight.
In game two against the Demon Deacons, Wake Forest got on the board in the top of the second, but Carolina responded in the bottom half of the inning when Zack Gahagan scored on a throwing error.
Riley hit a sacrifice fly to score Roberts in the fifth, and that ended up as the decisive run on Saturday.
Carolina added three more runs in the next inning, and Michael Busch put the cherry on top of the series win with a homer in the eighth.
On Sunday, the Tar Heels dusted off their Carolina Blue on Carolina Blue unis for the series finale.
After Carolina took the lead in the first, Wake Forest fought back with three runs in the second and tallied another in the fourth to push their lead to 4-1.
Gahagan responded with a three-run bomb in the sixth to tie the game, then the teams traded runs in the seventh.
In the eighth, WF scored in the top half of the inning to go ahead by one. In the bottom half, Martorano and Riley both homered to put the Heels up for good 8-6 and secure the series sweep.
Daniels pitched the final three innings, earning his fourth win of the season.
The team bus traveled again this week down I-85 to BB&T Ballpark. This time, Carolina took on South Carolina in their second neutral site game in two weeks.
After the third inning, the Gamecocks had a 3-1 lead over the Tar Heels. Carolina went on to score 10 unanswered runs as the border war turned into a rout.
In the sixth, UNC tacked on two runs by capitalizing on South Carolina’s miscues, including walking in a run and scoring on a wild pitch.
Two innings later, Carolina scored four runs through some small ball. In the top of the ninth, the Tar Heels went through the lineup. Kyle Datres had a hit in each of his two at-bats that inning, and he extended his hitting streak to nine games.
Busch put the exclamation point on the 11-3 victory with a two-run tater.
The Carolina pitching staff came up big after the third inning by holding South Carolina to just one hit in the final two-thirds of the game.
Below are the team leaders for UNC.
- Batting average: .367 - Kyle Datres (4th in ACC)
- Slugging percentage: .580 - Michael Busch (T-8th in ACC)
- Home runs: 8 - Michael Busch (T-3rd in ACC)
- RBIs: 39 - Michael Busch (T-1st in ACC and T-1st in the nation)
- Hits: 44 - Kyle Datres (T-2nd in ACC)
- Runs: 29 - Cody Roberts (T-2nd in ACC)
- On-base percentage: .451 - Kyle Datres
- ERA: 1.41 - Brett Daniels (minimum 10 innings pitched)
- Strikeouts: 43 - Tyler Baum
- Innings pitched: 39.0 - Tyler Baum
- Wins: 4 - Brett Daniels (4-0), Austin Bergner (4-1)
- Saves: 2 - Josh Hiatt
Current ACC Standings
The Tar Heels travel to Coral Gables to take on the 12-16 Hurricanes this weekend in a Coastal Division matchup.
After an impressive sweep of ranked Virginia, Miami has stumbled in five straight losses, including a sweep by Georgia Tech.
Freshman catcher Isaac Quinones leads Miami with a .366 average, good for fifth in the ACC and just a point behind Kyle Datres.
Jeb Bargfeldt has been a workhorse for Miami on the mound, appearing in 44.2 innings this season. Righty Evan McKendry ranks third in the ACC with 59 strikeouts.
UNC Baseball Upcoming Schedule
|4/6/2018||7:00 PM||at Miami|
|4/7/2018||7:00 PM||at Miami|
|4/8/2018||1:00 PM||at Miami|
|4/10/2018||6:00 PM||vs. Appalachian State|