After a brief hiatus for NCAA Basketball Tournament coverage last week, we are back at it with the Diamond Heels.
Since losing the series opener to Virginia Tech on March 22, the North Carolina Tar Heels have gone on to win six straight, including a series win over the Hokies and a sweep of Duke.
Here are the latest rankings for the Tar Heels:
- D1Baseball.com Top 25: 16
- NCBWA: 14
- Baseball America: 9
- USA Today Coaches Poll: 13
- RPI: 23
Below are the results since the last recap:
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 opener against Virginia Tech, Carolina was dominated by VT pitcher Ian Seymour. He threw eight shutout innings, allowing one UNC run in the top of the ninth. The Tar Heels could muster just three hits during Seymour’s complete game performance.
On Saturday, Michael Busch led the way for the Tar Heels. After falling behind 3-0 after two innings, Busch drove in two runs off a single in the third to narrow the gap to one. In the sixth, Busch gave UNC the led for good with three more RBIs. He is the first Tar Heel to record five RBIs in a game this season. Carolina tacked on one more run in the ninth for a 7-5 victory to set up a Sunday showdown for the series.
During the second inning of the series finale, a three-run home run off the bat of Dylan Enwiller would end up being enough of a margin for the eventual Carolina victory. Busch added a solo shot in the fifth to extend the lead. A a pivotal moment with the Hokies threatening in the seventh, coach Mike Fox brought in starter Caden O’Brien and he retired three in a row. In the eighth, UNC played some small ball with a bunt and a sacrifice fly to advance the score to its final tally of 5-2.
In the Tuesday night matchup against Campbell, the Camels struck first with a run to open the game. Danny Serretti responded for UNC with a two RBI single in the bottom half of the first. Busch and Dylan Harris added a RBI each in the third to give Carolina the lead for good. Junior pitcher Andrew Grogan earned his first win as a Tar Heels and tied a career high with five strikeouts in the 4-2 victory.
Tyler Baum threw 8.2 scoreless innings to lead Carolina to a 1-0 victory in the series opener versus Duke. It was a pitcher’s duel, with the Tar Heels scoring the lone run in the seventh off a Harris sac fly. Baum allowed just two hits while striking out six. Austin Love relieved Baum with two outs in the ninth and earned the save with a strikeout against the only batter he faced.
Carolina jumped ahead to a comfortable 5-1 lead behind home runs from Harris and Jackson Hesterlee heading into the final third of the game. However, the Blue Devils stormed back with a six-run seventh to jump ahead 7-5. In the bottom half of the inning, Carolina got two back off a Duke error and a Serretti RBI double. In the bottom of the eight, Busch knock a solo homer to put UNC back up by a run. Joey Lancellotti then retired the side in order to secure the series win for the Tar Heels.
In the series finale, the game was scoreless through the first three innings, then the bats came alive. Carolina led 8-4 after five, then the Tar Heels put up eight in the seventh to run it up and leave no doubt. Five Tar Heels had multi-hit games and five had multi-RBI games. This was the second series sweep of Duke in the past four years and the most runs scored against the team from Durham since 2010.
These are the individual leaders for UNC:
- Batting average: .347 - Ike Freeman
- Slugging percentage: .551 - Ike Freeman
- Home runs: 6 - Aaron Sabato and Michael Busch
- RBI: 26 - Michael Busch
- Hits: 34 - Ike Freeman
- Runs: 32 - Michael Busch (T-3rd in ACC)
- On-base percentage: .488 - Ike Freeman (6th in ACC)
- ERA: 1.93 - Joey Lancellotti (minimum 10 innings pitched)
- Strikeouts: 48 - Tyler Baum (6th in ACC)
- Innings pitched: 39.2 - Tyler Baum (T-8th in ACC)
- Wins: 5 - Austin Love (5-1) and Tyler Baum (5-2) (T-2nd in ACC)
- Saves: 3 - Austin Love (T-6th in ACC)
This weekend’s matchup with determine who jumps ahead in the Coastal Division. Georgia Tech is led on offense by junior catcher Kyle McCann. He leads the ACC in slugging percentage (.779) and is tied for the league lead with 12 home runs on the year. McCann is also among the conference leaders in on-base percentage (.507), RBIs (37), and walks (32).
Another big bat for GT is sophomore Michael Guldberg. He leads the ACC in on-base percentage (.533) and is second in batting average (.467).
On the mound, expect Connor Thomas, Brant Hurter, and Xzavion Curry to make starts this weekend. Thomas is among the lead leaguers in innings pitched (48.1) and strikeouts (47). The Yellow Jackets boast two pitchers in the top ten in the ACC in strikeouts, with Curry having 46 on the year.
Current ACC Standings
Last Tuesday’s game versus Davidson was postponed.
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|