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UNC Baseball: Week 4 Recap

The Diamond Heels start to conference play was not as expected.

Photo by Evan Davis

The North Carolina Tar Heels are looking to regroup this weekend against Miami after being swept by Clemson to start their ACC season. Two of three games saw UNC’s leads evaporate in the bottom of the ninth with the Tigers scoring two walk-off wins.

The Diamond Heels dropped the most spots in three of the four major polls and plummeted in the RPI rankings. Here are the latest rankings for UNC:

  • D1Baseball.com Top 25: 15
  • NCBWA: 14
  • Baseball America: 8
  • USA Today Coaches Poll: 15
  • RPI: 30

Below is a rundown of the past week’s results:

UNC Baseball Results

Date Opponent Result Record
Date Opponent Result Record
3-6-20 vs. Notre Dame L 5-8 10-5
3-7-20 vs. Notre Dame L 8-11 10-6
3-8-20 vs. Notre Dame L 8-14 10-7
3-10-20 vs. Gardner-Webb W 13-6 11-7
3-11-20 vs. VMI W 9-2 12-7

The start of the series with Clemson was moved to Saturday for a doubleheader. In the first game, Gianluca Dalatri pitched 6.2 innings, allowing just one run and four hits while striking out eight. UNC got on the board in the top of the first with a solo shot from shortstop Ike Freeman.

The game remained 1-0 until each team traded runs in the seventh. For Carolina, a Michael Busch single scored second baseman Danny Serretti.

Joey Lancellotti came in relief of Dalatri in the seventh and went the rest of the way for the Tar Heels. Clemson scored the game-tying run with one out in the ninth. With runners now on second and third, Lancellotti balked and the TIgers won 3-2.

In game two, the Tar Heels did not have much of a chance. Although they struck first in the first, Clemson held a 6-1 after just two innings. The 17-3 loss saw the most runs given up by Carolina since 2005 and the largest defeat under Coach Mike Fox since 2001. The only bright spot was Brendan Illies’s first collegiate home run.

On Sunday, Carolina once again scored first, this time off a Caleb Roberts RBI in the fourth that scored Brandon Martorano. After the Tigers took a 2-1 lead, designated hitter Aaron Sabato knocked a solo home run that tied the game at two. UNC grabbed the lead in the eighth. Once again, Roberts brought in another run, then Serretti drove in Roberts to extend the Tar Heel lead to 4-2. However, Clemson would get one in the eighth and with one on and two out in the bottom of the ninth, Tigers shortstop Logan Davidson hit a home run for the walk-off victory and series sweep.

This was the first ACC sweep suffered by Carolina since 2015.


On Tuesday, Carolina returned home to face Gardner-Webb. The Tar Heels scored in the first off a Aaron Sabato RBI to left. In the second, UNC doubled their score with a solo shot from Jackson Hesterlee.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs stormed back in the third, picking up three runs to take the lead 3-2. Over the next two innings, however, the Tar Heels put the game out of reach. After GWU tied the game in the fifth, UNC put up seven runs in the bottom half of the inning to claim the lead for good. The offensive explosion was highlighted by Freeman’s three-RBI double.

There were 14 Tar Heels that made a plate appearance and of those six players had multiple hits, including Serretti who went 5-5 with two RBIs. The bullpen got a workout as well with eight pitchers toeing the mound in the 18-8 victory.


After Tuesday’s win in Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels hopped on the bus and traveled two and a half hours to Wilmington for a Wednesday evening game. For the 11th time in 18 games this season, Carolina scored in the first inning. This time, UNC scored four in the first. Three runs scored off two singles by Sabato and Roberts, then Serretti brought one in off a sac fly.

UNCW tied the game over the next two innings and remained knotted at four until a late game push by the Tar Heels. Freeman started the seventh with a triple and then scored on a wild pitch. The next inning, Freeman brought in two off a double to right to push the Carolina lead to 7-4. Pinch hitter Earl Semper brought in a run in the top of the ninth and the cherry on top was a two-out, three-run home run by Martorano to seal the 11-4.

Once again, Carolina pitched by committee, giving their big arms some rest before the weekend. Six pitchers saw action for UNC, with no pitcher throwing for more than two and two-thirds innings.


These are the individual leaders for UNC:

Batting:

  • Batting average: .377 - Ike Freeman
  • Slugging percentage: .661 - Ike Freeman (9th in ACC)
  • Home runs: 4 - Ike Freeman
  • RBI: 21 - Ike Freeman
  • Hits: 23 - Ike Freeman
  • Runs: 22 - Michael Busch (T-2nd in ACC)
  • On-base percentage: .519 - Michael Busch

Pitching:

  • ERA: 1.14 - Gianluca Dalatri (minimum 10 innings pitched)
  • Strikeouts: 30 - Tyler Baum (T-4th in ACC)
  • Innings pitched: 23.2 - Gianluca Dalatri
  • Wins: 4 - Austin Love (4-1) (2nd in ACC)
  • Saves: 1 - Austin Love and Joey Lancellotti (T-10th in ACC)

Miami comes to Chapel Hill at 14-3, including a 2-1 record in conference play after their series win over Georgia Tech.

The Hurricanes will bring the current ACC Player of the Week to the Bosh this weekend. Sophomore shortstop Freddy Zamora had a dominant weekend against Georgia Tech. He went 7-13 (.538) with two home runs, four runs scored, four RBIs, and a stolen base.

Zamora ranks in the top ten in the ACC in several offensive categories, including batting average (4th at .406), slugging percentage (4th at .734), runs scored (4th with 19), hits (2nd with 26), RBIs (5th with 19), and doubles (1st with 9).

There is a lot of firepower on this Hurricanes team, including sophomores Alex Toral and Raymond Gil. They, like Zamora, are among the leaders in the conference in several offensive categories. Most notably, Toral leads the ACC in RBIs with 24.

As a team, Miami ranks first in the ACC with a .317 batting average, 169 hits, and 279 total bases on the season.

On the mound, expect Evan McKendry, Chris McMahon, and Brian Van Belle to lead the way for Miami. McKendry is tied with UNC pitcher Tyler Baum for fourth place in the ACC with 30 strikeouts.

The game on Saturday will be Military Appreciation Day and there will be a trading card giveaway and on Sunday kids can run the bases. Merritt’s Grill will be set up at the Bosh all weekend, so you can grab a BLT during the games.


Here is the upcoming schedule for the Diamond Heels:

UNC Baseball Upcoming Schedule

Date Time Opponent
Date Time Opponent
5/20/2021 7:00 PM at Georgia Tech
5/21/2021 6:00 PM at Georgia Tech
5/22/2021 1:00 PM at Georgia Tech