North Carolina baseball have gone through some struggles of late, dropping two of three to Pitt and then losing midweek to Coastal Carolina. Despite that, they’re still hanging around in the ACC Coastal, and had a good chance this weekend against a Miami team of a similar stature.
In three games against the Hurricanes, the Heels picked up a much needed series victory. Here’s a look at how things played out.
Game One: UNC 4, Miami 2
The win in the series opener came about in large part because of the bats of Justice Thompson and Dallas Tessar and the pitching of Austin Love.
The Heels struck early when Thompson drove in a run with a single in the first inning, and then did so again in the third. Tessar then brought home two more runs via hits, including a home run in the fourth.
While that was happening, Love opened the game with six scoreless innings, He came back out for the seventh, but was pulled after one out with a runner on via single. That runner eventually came around to score, giving Love a final line of one run allowed on seven hits and two walks, with seven strikeouts in 6.1 innings.
Miami got one more run back in the ninth, but it was too little too late as the Heels closed out a win.
Game Two: UNC 6, Miami 5
Later that day in the second game of a doubleheader, Miami got off to a good start, scoring a run in the top of the first. Two innings later, a Angel Zarate single evened the score, before the Tar Heels really broke things open in the fifth.
Carolina brought seven hitters to the plate in the fourth, with four recording hits in a four-run inning. Mac Horvath delivered the big blow with a two-run home run, but Zarate and Thompson also came up with RBI hits in the frame. UNC added another run in the sixth to go up 6-1, but that’s when the Hurricanes began to rally.
Just as Love had the day before, Shawn Rapp was strong for six innings and was brought out for a seventh. He allowed hits and a run in the first two at bats and was removed. In his six innings, Rapp allowed two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out eight.
Nik Pry replaced him and got out of the seventh, but got into some further trouble in the eighth. The Hurricanes scored three runs, and then put the tying run on in the ninth. Gage Gillian ended up coming in to get the final out of the game, and record his second save of the day.
Game Three: UNC 1, Miami 8
Things started well enough for UNC in the series finale when they took a first inning lead on a Danny Serretti single. That would be about the only high note in this one.
Miami answered right back with four runs in the second inning and then added four more in the last couple innings to avoid a sweep at the hands of Carolina. Starter Chris Joyner was knocked out after just 1.2 innings, having allowed four runs on five hits.
The Tar Heel offense didn’t have a ton to say after the first inning. Only one time in the remaining eight innings did they even get a runner past first base.
Gillian was again a positive out of the bullpen, throwing two hit-less innings.
This week, the Heels will have a midweek game against Charlotte, making up a previously scheduled meeting that was rained out. However after that is another tough task. Next weekend, UNC is headed to South Bend to take on a Notre Dame team currently ranked in the top ten.