After dropping the first game in last weekend’s series against Miami, the North Carolina Tar Heels rallied on Saturday and Sunday to earn their first ACC series victory of 2019.
The 16-6 Tar Heels remained about the same in most of the polls. UNC lost spots in the DIBaseball.com and NCBWA polls, as well as in their RPI ranking. However, they gained a couple in the USA Today Coaches Poll and maintained their top-ten ranking in the Baseball American poll.
- D1Baseball.com Top 25: 16
- NCBWA: 15
- Baseball America: 8
- USA Today Coaches Poll: 13
- RPI: 33
Below is a rundown of the past week’s results:
UNC Baseball Results
|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|
In the first game of the series versus Miami, starter Gianluca Dalatri dueled with Hurricanes pitcher Evan McKendry through three scoreless innings. In the fourth, Miami struck first with two runs in the top half of the inning. Freshman Aaron Sabato started his big offensive weekend in the bottom half, nailing a solo home run to cut the lead in half. Michael Busch’s duck snort in the next inning tied the ballgame, but Miami responded with a four-run sixth that would be the difference. Carolina got two more, but lost the first game 6-4.
On Saturday, UNC got on the board first with a three-run third inning. Busch, Ike Freeman, and Caleb Roberts all drove in a run. The Hurricanes came back with their own three-spot in the next half inning to tie the game. In the fifth, Carolina captured the lead for good with a Sabato sac fly and a couple of RBIs from Ashton McGee and Jackson Hesterlee. Busch put the exclamation point on the 9-3 victory with a two-run home run.
In the series finale, each team came out swinging. Miami started off with a three-run homer in the first. UNC answered with four runs in the bottom half of the first, including a two-run home run by Sabato. Carolina scored three runs in the next two innings that turned out to be the difference. Dylan Harris had a solo shot in the second and Sabato launched his second home run of the day to give UNC a 7-5 lead. He is the first Carolina freshman to hit two home runs in a game since Seth Baldwin in 2009. UNC added one more run in the eighth to seal the 8-5 win and series victory.
The Tar Heels traveled to Lynchburg, VA to take on Liberty Tuesday afternoon. It was a defensive struggle and an excellent showing by the UNC pitching staff. Three of the four Carolina pitchers did not allow a hit during the game. The Flames only managed two hits, but one of those was a two-run home run that was the difference in the game.
Carolina left nine runners on base during the game. The biggest missed opportunity was in the third inning when the bases were loaded with no outs. Two big bats, Busch and Freeman, could not capitalize and the inning ended with a fly out and a double play. The 2-0 loss was the first shutout of 2019.
These are the individual leaders for UNC:
- Batting average: .364 - Ike Freeman (T-9th in ACC)
- Slugging percentage: .597 - Ike Freeman
- Home runs: 5 - Aaron Sabato
- RBI: 23 - Ike Freeman (T-6th in ACC)
- Hits: 28 - Ike Freeman (T-8th in ACC)
- Runs: 27 - Michael Busch (1st in ACC)
- On-base percentage: .500 - Michael Busch (T-9th in ACC)
- ERA: 0.93 - Austin Love (minimum 10 innings pitched)
- Strikeouts: 36 - Tyler Baum (4th in ACC)
- Innings pitched: 28.2 - Gianluca Dalatri (7th in ACC)
- Wins: 4 - Austin Love (4-1) and Tyler Baum (4-1) (T-2nd in ACC)
- Saves: 2 - Austin Love (T-5th in ACC)
Virginia Tech is 14-6 on the season and holds an even 3-3 record in league play. Last weekend, the Hokies took a 2-1 series win over Pitt after dropped their league opening series 1-2 against Florida State.
Kerry Carpenter, a junior outfielder, leads the offense for Virginia Tech. With a .354 average on the year, he leads the Hokies in batting average, slugging percentage (.671), RBIs (26), and hits (28). He and Luke Horanksi each have six home runs on the year for VT.
Expect to see Chris Gerad, Ian Seymour, and Luke Scherzer on the mound this weekend. UNC will face a tough test in Gerad, as he holds a 0.35 ERA in 26 innings pitched this season. Seymour leads Virginia Tech with 30 strikeouts.
One scheduling note: Friday’s game has been moved to 1PM.
Now that the ACC season approaches its third weekend, here are the latest overall league standings:
Current ACC Standings
Here is the upcoming schedule for the Diamond Heels:
UNC Baseball Upcoming Schedule
|5/18/2023||6:00 PM||at Clemson|
|5/19/2023||6:00 PM||at Clemson|
|5/20/2023||1:00 PM||at Clemson|