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UNC Baseball: Midweek recap and weekend of 3/17

Will Carolina’s offensive explosion carry through the weekend?

Boston Red Sox Spring Training Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

The North Carolina Tar Heels (14-5, 1-2) are on an offensive tear this week. During the two midweek games, Carolina is outscoring opponents 32-5.

As their first ACC road trip starts today, UNC looks to build on this impressive offensive output as they seek their first conference series win of the season.

Here is the schedule for the weekend in Pittsburgh:

UNC Baseball Upcoming Schedule

Date Time Opponent
Date Time Opponent
2/16/2024 4:00 PM vs. Wagner
2/17/2024 12:00 PM vs. Wagner
2/18/2024 1:00 PM vs. Wagner

The 2-1 series loss to Virginia hurt Carolina in the polls. The Tar Heels dropped two to five spots in the national polls, while the Cavaliers received a boost to the top five or 10 in the nation.

Here are the current rankings for UNC:

  • 18
  • Baseball America: 21
  • NCBWA: 18
  • Collegiate Baseball: 25
  • USA Today Coaches Poll: 20

In the Tuesday night game at Charlotte, the 49ers struck first with two runs in the bottom of the first.

However, the Tar Heels earned enough in the second for the eventual win.

Vance Honeycutt hit his first career grand slam to put UNC ahead 4-2:

Mac Horvath came across the plate next off a Jackson Van De Brake sac fly. Albert Osuna finished off the second inning onslaught with a two-run home run:

Horvath kept it going in the third with a three-run home run to make it 10-2:

After a quiet fourth and fifth, Johnny Castagnozzi tallied an RBI single in the sixth.

Tomas Frick had a two-RBI double in the seventh to push the lead to 13-2.

Kevin Easie, the eventual winning pitcher was pulled in the bottom half of the seventh after tossing 98 pitches. After his two earned runs in the first, the graduate transfer settled down and struck out eight while allowing just five hits and one walk.

A pair of bases loaded walks extended the UNC lead to 15-2. In the bottom half, UNCC scored their final run of the game.

Reece Holbrook added one more RBI in the ninth for a final tally of 16-3. Matthew Matthijs and Nelson Berkwich finished the final 2.1 innings for UNC on the mound.

On Wednesday in Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels started against High Point the way they left off on Tuesday.

Honeycutt once again started the scoring with a solo shot in the first:

In the second, Castagnozzi and Holbrook notched back-to-back RBI singles. Both scored later in the inning off a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly to make it 5-0 UNC.

The Panthers got one in the third, but Carolina responded to High Point’s missteps and a fielder’s choice to get three more in the bottom half.

High Point plated their final run of the game in the fourth.

In the fifth, Osuna hit a two-run home run to give UNC the 10-2 lead:

After a scoreless sixth, Carolina had their final offensive push with six runs in the seventh. The exclamation point of the inning was a three-run dinger by Hunter Stokely:

Will Sandy came in relief in the third to earn the win. Dalton Pence, Will Simmons, and Carson Starnes pitched the final four innings and did not allow a hit.

The Pitt Panthers (8-8, 1-2) lost their weekend series against Florida State, but managed to take the third game in a lightning-shortened game Sunday,

The Panthers will be well-rested after their road trip with no midweek games scheduled this week.

Pitt is struggling in team batting average and ERA, finding themselves second to last in each category in the ACC.

Senior Noah Martinez is the leading hitter for Pitt. He leads the Panthers in batting average (.339), on-base percentage (.506), slugging percentage (.732), home runs (6), RBIs (23), and total bases (41). He has a sharp eye as he is the ACC leader in walks.

Starter Jack Sokol is Pitt’s strikeout leader with 25.

Below are the individual leaders for UNC:

Batting (minimum 2 PA/G and 75% of games played):

  • Batting average: .405 - Tomas Frick
  • Slugging percentage: .824 - Mac Horvath (4th in ACC)
  • Home runs: 9 - Mac Horvath (T-2nd in ACC)
  • RBI: 25 - Tomas Frick (4th in ACC)
  • Hits: 30 - Tomas Frick (4th in ACC)
  • Runs: 26 - Mac Horvath (6th in ACC)
  • On-base percentage: .482 - Tomas Frick
  • Stolen bases: 12 - Vance Honeycutt (2nd in ACC)

Pitching (minimum 1 IP/G):

  • ERA: 2.33 - Jake Knapp
  • Strikeouts: 23 - Max Carlson
  • Innings pitched: 21.1 - Connor Bovair (9th in ACC)
  • Wins: 2 - Jake Knapp
  • Saves: n/a
  • Opposing Batting Average: .208 - Jake Knapp