North Carolina baseball’s May turnaround has been fairly remarkable, seeing them go from just a couple games over .500 and well out of the NCAA Tournament discussion to (hopefully) the right side of the postseason bubble.
Over the weekend, UNC had one last chance to end the season on a good note ahead of the ACC Tournament next weekend when they hosted Florida State. They succeeded wrapping up their regular season with a sweep of a good FSU team.
The Heels didn’t waste time early, scoring four runs in the first inning. Danny Serretti drove home one with an RBI single, but the big blow came via Alberto Osuna’s three-run home run.
After that, FSU slowly and surely fought their way back into the game. They got two runs on fourth inning home run, and UNC starter Max Carlson was knocked out an inning later after going 4.2 frames, having been solid prior to that. Florida State picked up another run in the sixth, but their big blow came when they scored two in the eighth, taking the lead and potentially dooming Carolina to a loss after they had been leading all game.
However, the Tar Heels wouldn’t go down quietly. In the ninth, a Serrerri single and a crucial two-out Johnny Castagnozzi walk kept the game alive for Osuna, who delivered.
Osuna’s second three-run homer of the game gave the Heels a walk-off win.
Off the field, Friday was a big day as former Tar Heels’ coach Mike Fox saw his #30 retired in a pre-game ceremony. On the field, the team then delivered another win thanks to some more late inning runs.
The teams traded two runs each in the first inning, with UNC’s coming on a Vance Honeycutt home run. After the Heels took the lead in the second, Osuna struck again with another home run in the fifth. While FSU would answer back with a couple runs, Carolina broke the game open, scoring six combined runs in the seventh and eighth inning. Serretti’s eighth inning grand slam gave UNC more than enough breathing room as they finished off the win.
Carolina starting pitcher Brandon Schaeffer was solid, allowing three runs in 6.2 innings, while Angel Zarate had a three-hit day at the top of the Heels’ lineup.
The series finale featured another ceremony, this one for Senior Day, and the Heels, and the team made sure they all went out with a win, as UNC crushed FSU to finish off the sweep. UNC basically led from wire to wire as Zarate led off the bottom of the first with a home run, as the team struck early and often to pick up an 11-0 win.
Five different Heels recorded at least one RBI and only two starters didn’t reach base at least once. Mac Horvath led the way going 2-3 with a home run, a walk, and three RBI, while Serretti and Osuna wrapped up their big weekends by also driving home runs in the finale.
As far as seniors go, pitchers Gage Gillian and Caden O’Brien each had perfect outings, coming with four other UNC pitchers to throw a shutout. Meanwhile, left fielder Mikey Madej had a hit and two walks.