After playing some of their baseball of the year in the past few weeks, the North Carolina Tar Heels stumbled last week with some non-conference losses and a series loss to Duke. Carolina’s win on Sunday kept the Heels a game and a half ahead of the Blue Devils in the Coastal and tied with Clemson for the overall ACC lead.
Take a look at the latest rankings for the Heels:
- D1Baseball.com Top 25: 7
- NCBWA: 8
- Baseball America: 6
- USA Today Coaches Poll: 8
- RPI: 5
Here are the latest results for UNC:
UNC Baseball Results - Week 13
|5/11/2018||at Duke||L 3-7||33-15|
|5/12/2018||at Duke||L 2-5||33-16|
|5/13/2018||at Duke||W 8-6||34-16|
|5/15/2018||at UNCW||L 2-4||34-17|
|5/17/2018||vs. Virginia Tech||W 9-1||35-17|
In the first game of the series versus Duke, the Blue Devils struck first with a solo shot in the second inning. They added two more runs in the fifth to extend their lead to 3-0.
The Tar Heels rallied in the sixth. A Ben Casparius single through the right side scored Kyle Datres. Ike Freeman’s sac fly to center scored Michael Busch. Then an infield error scored off an Ashton McGee hit scored Casparius to tie the game at 3-3.
Unfortunately, that was all the UNC offense could muster in game one. Duke added two runs in both the seventh and eighth innings to win by a margin of 7-3.
On Saturday, Duke started the scoring once again, this time with a RBI double after a hard-fought battle at the plate that included six foul balls.
Carolina responded in the next half inning. A Cody Roberts single to center scored Zack Gahagan. However, the Heels could not bring any more home, and ended the inning with the bases loaded.
Duke had a big third inning that would be the difference in the ball game. The Blue Devils rallied with two outs to score three.
The UNC bats were ineffective in generating much offense in the next couple innings. In the ninth, the Tar Heels attempted a two out rally of their own. Brandon Riley scored Dylan Enwiller on his single to center field, but that was all Carolina could produce and loss the game and the series.
In the series finale, the Blue Devils once again started the scoring with a solo shot in the second inning.
However, in this game, the Tar Heels were able to generate some offense. In the third, Freeman scored Roberts on a single to left. McGee scored Riley to give UNC a 2-1 lead after three.
In the fourth, Riley’s hit up the middle scored two. This was followed by a Freeman single through the left side to score Roberts.
Three more UNC runs were added in the fifth. Brandon Martorano’s double to left scored Gahagan. Enwiller’s double of his own scored Martorano, then a fielder’s choice on Busch’s hit scored Enwiller to give Carolina a 8-1 lead.
Duke would not go down easily, and their comeback effort was led by Jimmy Herron. He hit a three-run home run in the fifth to bring the Blue Devils within four. Then in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, Herron roped a two-run homer to bring Duke within two. With the tying run at the plate, Josh Hiatt struck him out to earn the save and preserve the team’s lead in the Coastal Division.
The Tar Heels traveled to Wilmington on Tuesday to take on the Seahawks. UNCW plated a run in the second, and Carolina responded with a Riley RBI single in the top half of the third. In the fourth, a Martorano single scored Clemente Inclan for their only lead of the game.
UNCW scored three in the fifth, and that 4-2 lead would hold. In the final four innings of the game, UNC had just one hit and three total base runners.
Of note: Busch went 1-2 with a walk in the game. He extended his on-base streak to 23 straight games, the best since a 22-game streak last season by McGee.
The Thursday game against Virginia Tech was moved up to 1:00 PM due to the threat of rain.
The Tar Heels struck first on a two-out rally in the second. Martorano scored Freeman off a hit that careened into right field off of the VT pitcher’s glove. In the next at-bat, Gahagan’s hit to right field made it 2-0.
In the fourth, Martorano added two more RBI with a home run to left field that bounced off the scoreboard. His tater extended the Carolina lead to 4-0.
The Heels added another run in the fifth on a Freeman RBI single. In the next inning, Datres drove in Gahagan on a single to center. Later in the inning, Datres was caught in a run down, and while the Hokie defense was distracted, Enwiller scored from third to push the UNC lead to 7-0.
After seven, the Tar Heels led 9-0 and pitcher Cooper Criswell did not allow a Virginia Tech run. During those seven innings, he struck out six without walking a batter.
The Hokies got one in the eighth to spoil the shutout, but the Heels clinch the first game in decisive fashion.
Here are the individual leaders for the Heels prior to the series against Virginia Tech:
- Batting average: .333 - Kyle Datres (5th in ACC)
- Slugging percentage: .500 - Brandon Martorano
- Home runs: 11 - Michael Busch
- RBIs: 49 - Michael Busch (T-5th in ACC)
- Hits: 69 - Kyle Datres (T-3rd in ACC)
- Runs: 49 - Kyle Datres and Michael Busch (T-6th in ACC)
- On-base percentage: .443 - Michael Busch (T-7th in ACC)
- ERA: 1.69 - Ben Casparius (minimum 10 innings pitched)
- Strikeouts: 71 - Tyler Baum
- Innings pitched: 62.0 - Tyler Baum
- Wins: 6 - Brett Daniels (6-0) (T-7th in ACC)
- Saves: 4 - Josh Hiatt
Below are the standings prior to the win yesterday against Virginia Tech. One more victory and the Heels are Coastal champs:
Current ACC Standings
Needless to say, the Tar Heels must take advantage of this regular season finale. Carolina is hosting the last place team in the Coastal, and with their win yesterday they are one victory away from clinching the division. The two teams to watch, Clemson and Duke, will be on the road this weekend, albeit against teams to which they are favored.
Today’s game will be moved up to 1:00 PM once again to try and avoid the rain. The first 750 fans to the stadium will receive a bobblehead of the Seattle Mariners third baseman:
Bobblehead Fans,— Carolina Baseball (@DiamondHeels) May 16, 2018
Don't forget the first 750 fans on Friday get this Kyle Seager bobblehead! Game is set for 6 p.m. ET against Virginia Tech. pic.twitter.com/ImnNQzTLZa
UNC Baseball Upcoming Schedule
|5/18/2018||6:00 PM||vs. Virginia Tech|
|5/19/2018||2:00 PM||vs. Virginia Tech|