The start of May had seen North Carolina baseball begin to turn their fortunes around, reaching a high point with a series win over NC State last weekend. After being headed in the wrong way as far as the postseason goes, some projections had the Diamond Heels back in the field of 64 after they took two of three against the Wolfpack.
Over this past weekend, UNC had another good chance to bolster their case as a good Wake Forest team came to Chapel Hill. The Heels continued their good recent play and took two of three over the Demon Deacons.
The series opener saw an excellent performance from the Tar Heel bullpen to help get Carolina a win. Wake had taken a 2-0 lead in the second inning before UNC eventually chipped into that. They eventually took the lead in the sixth inning after Vance Honeycutt hit a two-run home run to give the Heels the lead.
Meanwhile, UNC pitching combined to keep the Demon Deacons off the board after the second inning. Shawn Rapp and Davis Palermo were especially crucial, combining to the throw the last four innings. Between them, they allowed just four hits and a walk over the final four frames, getting the win and save respectively and sealing a win.
The second game of the series was not as close, thanks mainly to one massive inning from the Heels.
UNC had taken the lead in the third thanks to RBI from Mac Horvath and Honeycutt, two of Friday’s heroes. Wake then answered right back with two runs of their own in the top of the fourth, tying the game. With the teams potentially looking at another close game, UNC stepped to the plate in the fifth and ensured that wouldn’t be the case.
In the fifth, the Heels piled on 10 runs, breaking the game open. They nearly batted through the lineup two different times, as 16 batters came to the plate over the course of the frame. Mikey Madej provided arguably the inning’s biggest blow, hitting a bases loaded triple that took the score from just 4-2 to 7-2. Wake eventually got one run back but it was way too little, way too late.
As you might expect, UNC got a lot of good performers on the offensive side of things. Madej drove in a game high three runs. Danny Serretti recorded three hits an two walks, driving home two runs. Every Tar Heel who stepped to the plate reached base at least once.
On the pitching side of things, Brandon Schaeffer was solid for Carolina, allowing three runs in 7.1 innings.
The script from Saturday was flipped a bit, as UNC couldn’t finish off the series sweep. Wake struck early and often, scoring 10 runs over the first three innings as the Heels were forced into using three four pitchers to get through them. By the time the dust settled, it was too late for Carolina as the Demon Deacons cruised to a Sunday win.
The Tar Heels were supposed to play a mid-week game against UNC Wilmington Today, but that game has been preemptively cancelled due to travel issues for UNCW. Carolina’s next action will come this coming weekend when they host Florida State in the final series of the season. It represents another good chance to the Heels to pick up some good wins and cement their NCAA Tournament case.