UNC baseball has been reeling of late, dropping 9 of their last 12 going into this weekend, including one to North Carolina A&T last Tuesday. The streak saw them freefall in the various Top 25 rankings.
This past weekend saw them get a chance to get a little something going against a good but unranked Georgia Tech team. What followed was a high-scoring series that unfortunately has let the Heels still struggling.
The series opener was about as wild as you might think by just looking at the final score. The game featured five lead changes as runs were scored in 11 of the 18 half-innings over the course of the game.
Georgia Tech scored three in the first inning, only for Carolina to answer with four, only for the Yellow Jackets to score two, only for UNC to score two themselves, and so on and so forth. A lot happened.
A three-run fourth inning ended up giving Tech a lead they would never relinquish, but there was still a lot of runs yet to score after that. However, the vital blows came in the seventh when the Yellow Jackets scored three runs on a pair of home runs. Those runs took them to 14, and they then added a 15th in the eighth.
Down five going into the ninth, UNC made one last charge but came up short. They loaded the bases and ended up scoring two runs and brining the tying run to the plate. Unfortunately, they couldn’t keep the rally going and came up short.
Despite the loss, several members of the Carolina lineup had big days, as you might be able to guess from the 12 runs. Mac Horvath went 4-5 with two doubles, a home run, a walk, and three RBI. Angel Zarate, Danny Serretti, Mikey Madej, and Hunter Stokely all had two-hit days as six different Tar Heels recorded at least one RBI. The pitching did not have as good a day, unfortunately, as they fell to Tech, who were led by two home runs by catcher Kevin Parada.
As crazy as it may seem, this ended up being the lowest scoring game of the series. UNC’s offense came out firing again on Saturday, and this time their efforts were more than enough for a win.
After the teams traded runs in the first inning, the Heels broke it open with a four-run third. Serretti, Alberto Osuna, Madej, and Stokely all had RBI hits in the fame, giving Carolina a lead they would hold for good. However, once again, the scoring was far from over.
UNC got one of their best pitching efforts in the series out of starter Brandon Schaeffer, but even then, he still got knocked out after 5.2 innings and four runs. The teams scored nine runs total from the fourth inning on, but they were evenly split, allowing UNC to score a semi-comfortable win.
It was another big day up and down the UNC lineup with Serretti, Johnny Castagnozzi, and Stokely all putting up three-hit days. Madej may have only had one hit, but he drove home three of the Heels’ runs. Meanwhile, Vance Honeycutt went 2-4 with a home run and a walk.
Nik Pry played an important role out of the bullpen, allowing one run in three innings, settling things down and helping keep it from becoming a repeat of Friday.
For a third-straight day, pitching was optional in another high-scoring game in the series finale.
On Sunday, Tech jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning with Parada torturing them again with a grand slam. After that, the teams kept exchanging runs, but UNC slowly and surely began to reel them back in. An eighth inning Osuna home run got the Heels within a run with the score now 7-6. It seemed like the game was potentially headed to an exciting ending...until the top of the ninth happened.
In the ninth, the Yellow Jackets pulled out a dagger when they loaded the bases for Tim Borden II, who proceeded to hit a grand slam, taking Tech’s lead out to five runs. UNC tried to fight back in bottom of the ninth, with Honeycutt hitting a two-run homer, but they ran out of outs and eventually lost the game and the series.
UNC are going to need to get things going soon, because the schedule is not getting any easier, starting with a game tonight against Campbell.