While they have taken some losses in that time, North Carolina baseball has been on a decent run of late, winning their last four series in ACC play. Unfortunately, that run came to an end over the weekend against Miami. The Heels may have lost two of three games, but it was a close fought series that featured some big moments going back and forth.
A run-scoring Miami bunt single in the top of the ninth was the difference as the Hurricanes pulled out a win in the series opener.
The Hurricanes struck first, picking up two runs off UNC starter Max Carlson in the third inning. However, Carolina quickly answered with four runs in the bottom half of the inning, including a three-run homer from Hunter Stokely.
Miami would get a run back off Carlson in the fourth, and the Tar Heel pitcher would depart after five innings, having allowed three runs on eight hits, with six strikeouts. Unfortunately, the UNC bullpen couldn’t hold onto the lead, with Blake Cyr’s home run tying things up in the sixth.
The game remained tied for a while after that, with UNC failing to put any runners on in the sixth, seventh, or eighth innings. Eventually that came back to haunt them as the Hurricanes took the lead on a bunt single in the ninth.
The UNC lineup again went down in order in the ninth, dooming them to a series-opening loss.
Carolina evened things up in game two, in a dramatic game that spanned two days due to the weather.
Things started out very poorly for UNC as Miami scored a total of six runs in the first and third innings, knocking out starter Connor Bovair. The Heels began to fight back with a run in the third, and two in the fourth, but they really broke things open in the sixth. Highlighted by Casey Cook’s two-RBI triple, UNC stormed in front with a four-run frame to take the lead. Miami would immediately answer in the seventh, tying things up as the game eventually went into extra innings.
Before that, the weather intervened. With Miami threatening in the top of the eighth, rain forced the game into a delay. It resumed the following day, when Kevin Eaise got out of the jam thanks in part to UNC getting Miami runner John Long into a rundown between third and home.
In the top of the 10th, Miami seemed to doom UNC to another late loss when Dominic Pitelli homered. Then in the bottom half of the inning, the first two Tar Heel hitters went down in order, getting the Hurricanes one out away. However, Cook came up huge once again, homering to tie the game again.
Miami threatened once again in the 11th, with reliever Nik Pry escaping a jam and leaving two runs on. With a chance at victory, Stokely came up with his second homer of the series, hitting a walk-off to give UNC a wild win.
A thrilling ending of game 2 to tie the series!— Carolina Baseball (@DiamondHeels) April 15, 2023
Check out all the top moments from bonus baseball ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/4oET7xNbjR
For the third-straight game, the game was close right to the end, but Miami pulled out the victory to take the series win.
Carolina took an early lead with a run in the second inning, but the Hurricanes answered with three runs in the third and one in the fifth. UNC had mostly been held in check after their run, but they eventually answered back thanks to Tomas Frick’s two-RBI single in the sixth inning.
However, other than putting two runners on in the eighth, the Heels didn’t come close to getting the one more run needed to tie the game. In the end, the Hurricanes came away with the win needed to take the series
UNC will be home all this week, as they’re set to host Charlotte in a mid-week game, and then welcome Boston College to the Bosh for a weekend series.