The North Carolina Tar Heels are off to a hot start this season on the baseball diamond, jumping out to a 12-1 record and riding a four-game winning streak heading into the conference opening series at Clemson.
Take a look at the latest rankings for the Heels:
- D1Baseball.com Top 25: 3
- NCBWA: 4
- Baseball America: 3
- USA Today Coaches Poll: 3
- RPI: 5
Here are the season-to-date results for UNC:
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|
For a breakdown on Carolina’s 8-1 start in February, check out this article by Jacob Cowden.
On Saturday, March 2, Carolina played a doubleheader against UMass Lowell. In UNC’s first game after their first loss of the season, righty junior Gianluca Dalatri threw a dominant two-hit performance in 7.1 shutout innings. Dalatri threw five strikeouts and allowed no walks. Caden O’Brien and Ben Casparius came in relief and finished off the shutout. On offense, shortstop Ike Freeman led the way, going 3-5 with two RBI. Designated hitter Jackson Hesterlee started the scoring with a solo home run, his first of the season.
In the second game, the Tar Heel offense jumped on the River Hawks early and did not look back. First baseman Michael Busch put the Heels on the board first with a two-run shot in the first inning. UNC tacked on 12 more runs in the next three innings to put the game out of reach. Along with Busch, center fielder Dylan Harris, catcher Caleb Roberts, starting second baseman Danny Serretti, and pinch hitter/second baseman Tom Caufield had two RBI each. Starting pitcher Tyler Baum tossed six innings, allowing one run on four hits. The bullpen allowed UMass Lowell to cut into the Tar Heel lead, including a six-run seventh inning.
Once again on Sunday, the UNC bats were alive early in the game. Four runs in each of the first two innings put the game away. Hesterlee and Serretti each had three RBI and catcher Brandon Martorano had a two-run home run. Austin Bergner had 11 strikeouts and just one walk in five innings to earn his first win of the season.
Last Tuesday, Charleston Southern visited Chapel Hill for an afternoon game. After allowing a run in the first, UNC tallied five runs in the third to move ahead 5-1. However, the Buccaneers started to chip away at the Carolina lead and their bullpen. CSU tied the game at 6-6 in the top of the eighth. Austin Love was the final Tar Heel pitcher out of the bullpen and he took them down the stretch, allowing no runs in 1.2 innings. In the bottom of the ninth, Martorano’s bases loaded walk scored the winning run for the Tar Heels.
Here are the individual leaders for the Heels prior to the series against Clemson:
- Batting average: .400 - Jackson Hesterlee (10th in ACC)
- Slugging percentage: .680 - Jackson Hesterlee
- Home runs: 3 - Michael Busch and Ike Freeman
- RBI: 15 - Ike Freeman (T-5th in ACC)
- Hits: 16 - Ike Freeman (T-9th in ACC)
- Runs: 20 - Michael Busch (1st in ACC)
- On-base percentage: .596 - Michael Busch (6th in ACC)
- ERA: 0.00 - Austin Love (minimum 10 innings pitched)
- Strikeouts: 28 - Tyler Baum (T-2nd in ACC)
- Innings pitched: 19.0 - Tyler Baum (T-2nd in ACC)
- Wins: 4 - Austin Love (4-0) (1st in ACC)
- Saves: 1 - Austin Love and Joey Lancellotti (T-5th in ACC)
Clemson is 9-3 on the season. Thus far in 2019, the Tigers won series against South Alabama and VMI, along with wins over UNCC, East Tennessee State, and Furman. Last weekend, Clemson dropped their series against rival South Carolina.
In the first week of the season, Clemson freshman Davis Sharpe was named ACC Player of the Week for his pitching and hitting performances against South Alabama. In his first collegiate start on the mound, Sharpe went five scoreless innings, striking out eight and allowing just two hits. The next day as designated hitter, he hit two home runs and drove in three.
Sharpe and UNC pitcher Austin Bergner are tied for fifth in the league with 23 strikeouts on the season. Clemson closer Carson Spiers leads the ACC with four saves.
Leadoff batter and left fielder Sam Hall, a Hampstead, NC native, ranks second in the ACC with nine stolen bases and is tied for third with 19 runs scored.
Center fielder Bryce Teodosio and and shortstop Logan Davidson both rank in the top ten of the ACC in both home runs at four each. Both players also rank in the top ten of the conference with 15 strikeouts apiece.
Here is the upcoming schedule for the Diamond Heels:
UNC Baseball Upcoming Schedule
|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|