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UNC Baseball: The Heels cling onto their Coastal lead after winning their series against Virginia

The Tar Heels manage to take the series after dropping the opener.

Photo by Evan Davis

With exams coming at Carolina, the baseball team took the field at the Bosh for their next to last weekend series of the season. This time it was against Virginia, as the Tar Heels were looking to keep up with Georgia Tech for the Coastal lead.

The series did not start well. On Friday Night, Carolina took a 2-1 lead in the 3rd thanks to a double by Danny Serretti and Ashton McGee getting hit by a pitch. The Cavs took the lead in the 5th only to see the Tar Heels tie it back up, and it was 4-4 going into the sixth. From there, though, Virginia laid it on. With three runs in the sixth and a five spot in the eight, the Cavs would win 12-5. The concerning part of the game is that only six of UVA’s twelve runs were earned.

The stress was on the Tar Heels going into the second game, as a loss would mean dropping the series and likely the ACC Coastal lead. Virginia took their momentum from Friday and scored two quick runs in the first, but Carolina was able to get one back thanks to an Ike Freeman single. The Tar Heels then scored three in the second by capitalizing on the Cavs loading the bases. It was enough to knock out the UVA starter, Griff McGarry, but the bullpen for the Cavs would settle the game down. They kept the Tar Heels scoreless for the next six innings, and managed to tie the game up in the fourth.

Carolina’s Austin Bergner was responsible for all four of Virginia’s runs, but Caden O’Brien and Joey Lancellotti combined to pitch six shutout innings to give the Tar Heels a chance in the ninth. Sure enough, Michael Busch and Aaron Sabato were able to draw walks to start the frame. After a sac bunt and intentional walk to load the bases, Ashton McGee was able to drive Busch home for the walk-off 5-4 win.

Sunday’s rubber match again started with Virginia getting a lead, this time 1-0 in the third thanks to a sac fly by Tanner Morris. Michael Busch would double Dylan Harris home in the bottom of the inning to quickly tie it up, only to see the Cavs take a 2-1 lead in the fifth thanks to a sac fly Cayman Richardson.

The Tar Heels would rally to score two in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a bomb by Jackson Hesterlee. The Heels would tack on one more in the fifth and six innings to take a 5-2 lead. The Tar Heels had to hold on, though, as the Wahoos would get two in the eighth thanks to a couple of unearned runs off Andrew Grogan. However, Austin Love would come in and pitch 1 23 scoreless to seal another 5-4 win for the Tar Heels.

Carolina exits the weekend still in a tie for first place in the coastal. The Tar Heels don’t play another ACC contest until May 10th when they travel up to Pittsburgh. Before then, they’ll play around exams with games against Liberty (Tuesday), Winthrop (5/7) and ECU (5/8) in Chapel Hill.