In the opening game of the Chapel Hill Regional, the national 10th seed North Carolina Tar Heels defeated the Hofstra Pride 15-4 to advance to the winner’s bracket on Saturday.
With the victory, Carolina faces tonight’s winner of the Georgia-VCU game tomorrow night at 7:00 PM.
Hofstra started the scoring with a Kevin Bruggeman solo shot in the top of the first. UNC answered in kind with a Mac Horvath homer in the bottom half of the inning.
Again the second, Santino Rosso of the Pride tallied a home run, and the Tar Heels responded with Tomas Frick’s second home run of the season.
The two Hofstra home runs were the only earned runs allowed by starting pitcher Max Carlson. After this rocky start, Carlson went on to throw 108 pitches in 5.2 innings. He struck out six batters.
In the third inning, Horvath notched another home run. This dinger was a two-run shot to left center that pushed Carolina to a lead that it would not relinquish for the rest of the game.
Colby Wilkerson’s small ball in the fourth added UNC’s fifth run that would end up being enough to outpace Hofstra that day.
But Carolina was not finished.
Danny Serretti homered in the fifth, and while Hofstra added another run in the sixth, the 6-3 margin was as close as it would get the rest of the day.
In the seventh, the Tar Heels exploded for seven runs. Wilkerson started the scoring with an RBI single to left, then Angel Zarate drove in two runs off his single to right center. Wilkerson then scored off an error on a pickoff attempt at first base.
To cap off the inning, ACC Tournament MVP Vance Honeycutt hammered a three-run home run to keep his hot streak alive.
Hofstra tallied their final run of the game with Rosso’s second solo home run of the game.
In the eighth, Carolina plated two more runs off a hit batter and walk for the final margin of 15-4.
In relief of Carlson, Gage Gillian, Connor Bovair, and Connor Ollio appeared on the mound for UNC. The trio allowed just two hits and one run over the final third of the game.
Below are the highlights for this afternoon’s victory: