The North Carolina Tar Heels took the weekend series over winless Stony Brook. However, it was not a cakewalk for UNC.
Carolina improves to 9-3 on the season and is riding a five-game winning streak.
In the first game of the series Friday, both teams were scoreless heading into the middle innings. In the bottom of the fourth, Colby Wilkerson hit a bloop single to plate Alberto Osuna.
After a scoreless fifth, Stony Brook tied the game in the sixth with a solo home run.
In the bottom of the seventh, Tomas Frick responded with a solo shot of his own to return the lead to Carolina.
The Seawolves hit another solo home run in the eighth and finally ran off starter Max Carlson.
The junior righty tossed 103 pitches in 7.1 innings, allowing just four hits despite Stony Brook’s two home runs.
After a scoreless ninth, the 2,000 fans at the Bosh enjoyed some free baseball.
Junior righty Matt Poston got UNC out of a jam in the 10th and came back in the 11th. Poston earned the win by retiring four Stony Brook batters on infield popups.
In the bottom of the 11th, Mac Horvath took the first pitch of the inning off the video board for the walk-off homer.
Three UNC pitchers appeared in relief of Carlson, and they combined to toss 3.2 hitless innings into the 11th for the 3-2 Carolina victory.
The Saturday game started similarly as the end of the Friday game.
After a scoreless first-half inning by Stony Brook, Horvath hit a solo home run to start the scoring for UNC.
In the third, Osuna extended the Carolina lead with a two-run single.
The Seawolves got on the board in the fourth with sac fly.
In the bottom half of that inning, Patrick Alvarez put UNC up four with a two-run home run to left.
In the bottom of the fifth, Hunter Stokely gave Carolina their final runs of the day off a two-run home run that went just inside the right field foul pole.
Starter Connor Bovair had a solid outing in six innings pitched, allowing just one run and four hits while striking out five.
However, the UNC issues in the bullpen returned after an impressive performance Friday.
Over the last three innings, the three Carolina relief pitchers allowed four runs and five hits.
The bats went cold in the later innings, and this was something that head coach Scott Forbes addressed after the game:
I didn’t think we played well, but we played well enough to win the game. I was disappointed in our at-bats after Stokely hit that home run. I talked to our guys about that, and we’ll be better there.
Despite a ninth-inning rally, Carolina held on for the 7-5 victory and the series win.
In the Sunday series finale, the Tar Heels answered the call from Coach Forbes.
In the bottom of the second, UNC would score enough runs for the eventual victory.
Carolina started the scoring with a double steal. While Wilkerson took second base after escaping a pickle, Alvarez took home.
On the next pitch after the score, Vance Honeycutt crushed a two-run dinger.
After a Horvath walk, Jackson Van De Brake hit the second two-run home run of the inning.
Stony Brook scored in both the third and fifth to bring the game to 5-2. In the bottom of the fifth, Honeycutt scored on an error to push the UNC lead back to four.
The Seawolves tallied their final two runs of the day in the top of the sixth to cut the lead in half.
Unlike the Saturday game, the Carolina hitters finished this game strong.
Van De Brake hit his second home run of the game. His three-run shot to left center was the second time this week he hit two home runs in one game.
In the eighth, Horvath drove in a run for a double. Frick followed up with his fourth hit of the day and drove in two more runs.
Austin Hawke’s pinch-hit double with the bases loaded cleared the bases to put Carolina up for the eventual final margin of 15-4.
Below is Carolina’s midweek schedule:
UNC Baseball Upcoming Schedule
|5/18/2023||6:00 PM||at Clemson|
|5/19/2023||6:00 PM||at Clemson|
|5/20/2023||1:00 PM||at Clemson|
Western Carolina is 5-7, but is riding a three-game winning streak after their weekend sweep of Eastern Kentucky.
Junior Pascanel Ferreras leads WCU with a .409 batting average, .509 on-base percentage, and 18 hits.
Penn State is 6-3, and has been competing in North Carolina since February 24. The Nittany Lions have taken on Northern Illinois, Maine, Monmouth, Wagner, Dartmouth, and Holy Cross at the USA Baseball National Training Complex at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary.
Thomas Bramley leads PSU with a .355 batting average and .524 on-base percentage.