Thanks to a offensive explosion in the series finale, North Carolina Tar Heels picked up a much needed series win over Duke last weekend. They had a chance to carry that over as they hit the road to take on a Pitt team that is currently projected as an NCAA Tournament team by several sources.
While it was a wild series that ended on a high note, they couldn’t quite keep the winning going.
Game One: UNC 2, Pitt 6
Weather again messed with Carolina’s schedule, causing Friday’s series opener to be postponed with the teams playing a doubleheader on Saturday. When they did get on the field, it couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start for the Tar Heels.
Just two batters into the bottom of the first, Pitt had a 2-0 lead after a leadoff single and then a home run by the Panthers’ Nico Popa. Pitt added another run in the frame, and jumped out to an early 3-0 lead.
UNC battled back in the next couple innings, getting an RBI from Brett Centracchio and Justice Thompson in the second and third innings respectively. However, that would the best of the offensive side of things in the day. The Heels put at least one runner on in every inning after the third, but they failed to cash in on any other chances. Meanwhile, Pitt only added to their lead, eventually leading to a four-run win for the Panthers.
Thompson had the big game for Carolina in the opener, recording two hits in addition to his RBI, which came on a sacrifice fly.
Game Two: UNC 2, Pitt 3
Later that day, Carolina opened the scoring in the third on a Clemente Inclan home run and a Danny Serretti double a few batters later. However, the lead wouldn’t last long. Starting pitcher Austin Love had narrowly gotten out a jam in the first inning, but he couldn’t duplicate the feat in the bottom of the third. Pitt answered back with three runs on three hits and a walk, with the killer blow coming on a two RBI single with two outs in the inning.
After that, Love settled down the rest of the way and only allowed one further baserunner in the remainder of his outing. He finished with 12 strikeouts in his 6.1 innings. Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t cash in on this solid outing. After the third inning, only three other Tar Heels reached base, two of which came via Pitt errors. They again failed to cash in on any of these opportunities and ended up dropping both games of the doubleheader.
Game Three: UNC 10, Pitt 9
After two games of missed chances on offense, the Tar Heels ensured that wouldn’t be the story again on Sunday.
In the first inning of the series finale, Caleb Roberts led off the game for UNC with a home run. That was only the beginning of the inning. In total, Carolina scored five runs in the first, with Dallas Tessar recording an RBI double and Inclan hitting a two-run homer. By the end of the frame, the Heels led 5-0.
However, that lead nearly evaporated as Pitt answered back with four runs. The game settled somewhat after that. The Panthers tied the game in the fifth, but UNC answered back with a run in the sixth. Then in the seventh, things got nuts again.
The Tar Heels scored four runs in the seventh, with Roberts and Thompson hitting back-to-back home runs to start it. In total, they scored four runs, and seemed to put things away, going up 10-5.
It wasn’t over just yet, however. Pitt answered back with three runs, and brought the tying run to the plate before UNC finally escaped. In the ninth, they scored another run, and had the tying run in scoring position before Nik Pry got a ground out to finally end things and give UNC a 10-9 win.
On the offensive side of things, seven of UNC’s nine starters recorded at least one hit. Serretti had three, while Colby Wilkerson drove in a game high three runs.
This week, UNC will host Coastal Carolina for a game before Miami comes to town for a weekend series.