After taking a tough midweek loss to Coastal Carolina, North Carolina Tar Heels baseball was back in action this weekend. After five consecutive home games, it was time for them to head back out on the road, as they went up to Indiana to take on 2022 College World Series participant Notre Dame. While they couldn’t quite finish off a sweep, it was a good weekend for Carolina as they picked up a series victory.
Friday: North Carolina 10, Notre Dame 8
The series opener was a dramatic one, as the Tar Heels scored six runs in the top of the ninth to rally past the Irish.
The game started decently well enough, as UNC opened up a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, and made it 4-0 in the second. However, Notre Dame answered back with three runs in the second, three more in the third, and one in the fourth, knocking out Carolina starter Max Carlson. The game stayed there for a while, until the Irish picked up an insurance run in the eighth to go up four.
UNC got their rally attempt in good fashion when Colby Wilkerson led off the ninth with a home run. The next three batters then also recorded hits, with Jackson Van De Brake singling home Vance Honeycutt. A hit by pitch then loaded the bases for Johnny Castagnozzi. After working the count full, Castagnozzi did this:
JOHNNY CASTAGNOZZI GRAND SLAM!!!— Carolina Baseball (@DiamondHeels) March 31, 2023
The Tar Heels retake the lead in the 9th!
Carolina 10, Notre Dame 8 | T9
: https://t.co/tH66tiJlDV pic.twitter.com/KYd4ksMQW6
Kevin Eaise came in for the bottom of the ninth and threw a scoreless innings to seal the big comeback win.
Sunday, First Game: North Carolina 5, Notre Dame 2
The weather wrecked Saturday’s game, leading to the teams playing a double header on Sunday.
Early on, the game was a pitchers’ duel as starters Connor Bovair and Jack Findlay exchanged four scoreless innings. UNC eventually broke the deadlock with RBI hits from Patrick Alvarez and Wilkerson in the fifth. Van De Brake added a solo home run to increase the lead.
Bovair kept on cruising for UNC, though he did occasionally need some assistance, including this ridiculous catch from Alvarez:
Hi #SCTop10, we're back with yet insane catch by a UNC outfielder!— Carolina Baseball (@DiamondHeels) April 2, 2023
Bovair finally ran into some resistance in the seventh, when Notre Dame got two runs back on a Vinny Martinez home run. That would be the only real blemish on Bonvair’s day, as he went eight innings, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out eight.
Van De Brake finished off a two-hit, three-RBI day and gave UNC some insurance runs in the eighth, and that was enough for the victory.
Sunday, Second Game: North Carolina 1, Notre Dame 9
The second game of the doubleheader did not go as well for UNC, as they came up short of finishing off the sweep. Notre Dame jumped on UNC starter Jake Knapp for six runs over the first three innings and mostly cruised from there.
ND starter Dennies Jackson threw 4.2 scoreless innings to start the game, allowing just two hits and striking out seven. Aiden Tyrell following him with 4.1 innings where he allowed just one run, giving the Irish the win.
UNC’s lone run came in the eighth inning on a Honeycutt home run. However by that point, Notre Dame had already scored nine runs, and it was too little, too late.
Tonight, UNC will head down to Charlotte to take on South Carolina in a neutral site game before heading down to Atlanta for a weekend set agaisnt Georgia Tech.