The #18 Diamond Heels shook off the lost series to Virginia Tech last week and swept Clemson at Boshamer Stadium, lifting their season record to 10-4. Carolina showed fortitude throughout the series, making up early deficits in all three games. UNC’s bats were uneven, and in the final two games of the series, the Heels scored all of their runs in a single inning.
A sweep of the Tigers was no less than what Clemson deserved for wearing purple for two of the three games. What is the point in having orange as your primary color if you substitute purple for it? Those jerseys were horrendous.
Things looked dicey for starter Austin Love in the series opening, as he gave up a two-run homer to first baseman Caden Grice in the first inning. Love quickly settled down and retired 19 of the next 21 batters he faced, striking out 12 of them. Love went for a career-high 7.2 innings, and only gave up five hits and three runs.
Carolina got back on even footing in the second inning thanks to a Brett Centracchio solo homer and a Danny Serretti double that plated Clemente Inclan. Centracchio and Serretti were at it again in the third inning, both hitting triples that tallied four more runs, a lead that Clemson couldn’t catch up to. Inclan added insurance in the seventh inning, blasting a two-run homer that provided the final margin, 8-3.
Diamond Heel pitchers made Carolina fans sweat in Game 2, handing out 10 walks, three of those with the bases loaded, shrinking a 5-1 lead to 5-4, the game’s final score.
Clemson got the early lead in the second inning, when Caden Grice scored from a throwing error. But in the bottom of the fourth, Carolina got the offense rolling. Caleb Roberts hit a solo home run to tie the score 1-1. Then, with two runners on, Clemente Inclan hit his third home run of the series, giving the Diamond Heels a 4-1 lead. Will Stewart made it back-to-back jacks, and gave UNC a crucial cushion, ending the inning up 5-1.
Starting pitcher Max Carlson got touched up in the fifth inning, loading up the bases. Relievers Nik Pry and Nick James each walked a run in before Joey Lancellotti eventually came in and cleaned things up, earning the decision.
Starting pitcher Max Alba had a career-day, going 7.2 innings, striking out nine and only giving up three runs, two in the first inning, and one in the eighth. In between was smooth sailing.
Carolina did all of their scoring in the first inning, putting up five runs to immediately wipe out a two-run Clemson lead thanks to a Dylan Brewer two-run homer. RBIs from Caleb Roberts and Danny Serretti plated two runs for the Diamond Heels, and a Clemente Inclan two-run shot stretched the lead to 4-2. Tomas Frick’s double brought home Will Stewart to top off UNC’s scoring in the first inning.
They would not score again. Fortunately, Max Alba ensured they didn’t have to. Besides giving up a walk to open the forth inning, Alba pitched five three-and-out innings, and the fourth inning had three consecutive outs after the initial walk. Carolina was comfortable with their 5-2 lead, until Alba gave up one run in the top of the eighth to bring the margin to 5-3, the game’s final score.
Carolina will play at Liberty on Tuesday, March 16th, before heading up to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts to take on Boston College in a Friday through Sunday series. The Eagles have had a fitful start to the season, with their series at Wake Forest and a home game against Holy Cross cancelled for Covid precautions. Last weekend, Boston College got swept by Louisville.