The North Carolina Tar Heels 2021 baseball season concluded last Sunday with a second loss in the NCAA Lubbock Regional. Carolina finished the season 28-27 overall, going 18-18 in the ACC. UNC held a 19-10 home record at Boshamer Stadium, while posting a 6-14 away record and 3-3 at neutral sites.
First year head coach Scott Forbes had a challenge this season with a very young roster. Out of 43 on the roster, there were 18 true freshmen, two redshirt freshmen, nine sophomores, and two redshirt sophomores. The Tar Heels had just two seniors and two graduate transfers on the team.
The Diamond Heels had an up and down season. The first two weekends of conference play were an indication of things to come. In the first ACC series of the season, the Tar Heels took the series from a Virginia team that was the second-ranked team in the nation. The Cavaliers are now in the NCAA Super Regionals. The very next weekend, UNC dropped a series to Virginia Tech. The Hokies finished in last place in the Coastal Division, and was tied for the third-worst league record this season. With a young team comes such inconsistency. Yet, for a team picked 10th out of 14 teams in the preseason ACC baseball poll, Forbes overachieved by making the postseason. The victory over UCLA in the regionals is a positive step heading into 2022.
Below are the 2021 season individual leaders for UNC:
- Batting average: .324 - Angel Zarate
- Slugging percentage: .497 - Angel Zarate
- Home runs: 10 - Caleb Roberts
- RBI: 39 - Danny Serretti
- Hits: 63 - Justice Thompson
- Runs: 44 - Caleb Roberts
- On-base percentage: .442 - Caleb Roberts
- ERA: 2.34 - Gage Gillian (minimum 10 innings pitched)
- WHIP: .94 - Gage Gillian (minimum 10 innings pitched)
- Strikeouts: 129 - Austin Love
- Innings pitched: 102.0 - Austin Love
- Wins: 10 - Austin Love
- Saves: 4 - Nik Pry and Gage Gillian
- Opposing batting average: .203 - Gage Gillian (minimum 10 innings pitched)
- Complete games: 2 - Austin Love
Austin Love and Justice Thompson earned All-ACC honors this season.
Love was named to the All-ACC First Team. He is the eighth Carolina pitcher, and first since 1999, to earn first team conference honors. Love was twice named ACC Pitcher of the Week this season.
Love’s game on May 20 versus Georgia Tech was one of the best pitching performances in recent memory. In his complete game victory over the Yellow Jackets, he tallied 15 strikeouts, while allowing just two runs, eight hits, and zero walks.
Justice Thompson was a All-ACC Second Team selection. Described by the coaching staff as a five-tool player, he had a great season at the plate, in the field, and across the base paths.
In March, Clemente Inclan was named the ACC Player of the Week after his home runs in four-straight games.
Congratulations to the Tar Heels on their 2021 season. Now, the long wait until next spring.