After dropping their opening ACC series of the season, North Carolina bounced back during the mid-week, picking up some wins over Charlotte and High Point. That put them on a good footing ahead of a road trip for their conference matchup against Pitt. The series looked to be a very winnable on, with the Panthers sporting an under .500 record so far on the young season.
Unfortunately, the weather had other plans.
Friday/Saturday: UNC 17, Pitt 7
The weekend got off to the perfect start with a blowout win on Friday.
The Panthers took an early lead by a first inning home run from CJ Funk. However, the Tar Heels answered back early and often after that. Carolina took a 3-1 lead in the second thanks to homers from Alberto Osuna and Johnny Castagnozzi. They added four more runs in the third with Mac Horvath and Tomas Frick each hitting a two-run homer.
Pitt then rallied with four runs on their own in the bottom of the third, but UNC’s offense just kept on rolling. The Tar Heels scored eight total runs over the course of the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, breaking the game open.
As that was happening, the weather started to interfere. After the fourth inning, the game went into a delay and wound up getting postponed to the following day. On Saturday, UNC’s offense kept chugging along, but they managed to leave Pitt in the dust thanks to a good pitching performance.
Connor Bovair came in for the fifth inning when the game restarted and ended up putting in a heck of a display. He threw five no-hit innings, allowing just one walk while striking out eight batters. He was dominant, but did get some help at one point thanks to an impressive catch from Vance Honeycutt.
In the end, UNC put up a bunch of runs and won the game by a football score of 17-7. Eight of the nine starters in the Tar Heels’ lineup recorded at least one hit, with Horvath, Casey Cook, and Colby Wilkerson each having three-hit games. Wilkerson and Horvath drove in five and four runs respectively, with Wilkerson falling just a double short of hitting for the cycle.
However late in the game, the weather started to act up again.
Yes that is snow here in the bottom of the ninth. pic.twitter.com/nEKZ2SHQI6— Carolina Baseball (@DiamondHeels) March 18, 2023
Saturday and Sunday: Games Cancelled
That led to the second and third game of the series getting cancelled due to the weather. It’s unfortunate because considering the way the first game played out, it seems like it would’ve been a decent chance at some more victories.
Despite all that, thanks to the mid-week wins and the single one they got over the Panthers, the Tar Heels did move in the right direction in the polls. In D1Baseball.com’s rankings, Carolina moved up three spots from #18 to #15. In the USA Today Coaches Poll, they went from #20 to #16.
This week, the Heels are set to host North Carolina A&T in a mid-week game before they welcome Duke to town for a three-game set.