The North Carolina Tar Heels (30-17, 11-11 ACC) are back in action this weekend and seek to stay above .500 in ACC play.
After the exam break, Carolina beat Gardner-Webb 5-4 on Tuesday night. Both UNC and NCSU are on two-game winning streaks heading into this critical conference series.
Below is the schedule for the series starting Thursday night:
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|
Carolina is not ranked in any national poll but received votes in most.
On Tuesday night, UNC hosted the Bulldogs of Boiling Springs at Boshamer Stadium.
After two scoreless innings, the Tar Heels started the scoring in the third with a Mac Horvath two-run home run to left.
Horvath continues his hot streak and accomplished a unique milestone with his homer. He became the second player in program history with 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season.
Record setting pictures pic.twitter.com/Eti3xQu8Qc— Carolina Baseball (@DiamondHeels) May 9, 2023
Gardner-Webb responded in the top of the fourth with impressive back-to-back-to-back solo home runs to take the lead.
After a scoreless fifth, Carolina tied the game off Reece Holbrook’s safety squeeze bunt to score Horvath.
Once again, the Runnin’ Bulldogs answered in the next inning with a solo home run to regain the lead.
After a strikeout to end the seventh, the Gardner-Webb pitcher was a tad fired up and had some words for the Tar Heels. The bench-clearing situation might have been the wake up call Carolina needed in the late innings.
Things getting a bit heated in Chapel Hill as Gardner-Webb heads to the top of the eighth with a 4-3 lead. pic.twitter.com/4U0FQvS1hs— Pat James (@patjames24) May 10, 2023
In the bottom of the eighth, things got interesting on the base paths. Vance Honeycutt’s lead-off single to right was followed by a Horvath double to left to put the pair on second and third.
After a strikeout to tally the first out of the inning, GWU decided to intentionally walk Tomas Frick to load the bases and set up for a double play.
In the next at-bat, the throwing error by Gardner-Webb’s pitcher allowed Honeycutt to tie the game. With the pressure increasing, a balk by the pitcher allowed the eventual winning run to cross the plate.
Matt Poston came in for the save during the top of the ninth. The Bulldogs went down in order with a groundout, fly out, and strike out for the 5-4 UNC victory.
NC State (31-15, 10-13 ACC) started the season on a 13-game winning streak. Once they entered conference play, the Wolfpack did not earn an ACC series victory until their fourth series of the season.
Junior third baseman LuJames Groover III has started all 46 games for NC State and leads the team in batting average (.344), hits (63), runs (38), and RBIs (43).
Groover was named the Week 9 ACC Player of the Week for his performance during the Wolfpack’s sweep of Florida State.
Groover and Payton Green share the team lead with 10 home runs each.
Freshman catcher Cannon Peebles has started 28 games for NCSU this season and is off to a hot start to his collegiate career. He ranks in the top ten in the ACC with a .700 slugging percentage and 1.146 OPS percentage. Peebles has 36 RBIs; his nine home runs are second on the team.
Two of three starters for NCSU rank in the top ten of the ACC in ERA. Dominic Fritton has a 2.65 ERA, while Matt Willadsen is right behind Fritton with a 2.74 ERA.
Fritton has the second-best opposing batting average in the conference, limiting batters to a .186 batting average. In 54.1 innings of work this season, he has allowed just 37 hits.
Below are the individual leaders for UNC:
Batting (minimum 2 PA/G and 75% of games played):
- Batting average: .336 - Hunter Stokely
- Slugging percentage: .747 - Mac Horvath (6th in ACC)
- Home runs: 20 - Mac Horvath (2nd in ACC)
- RBI: 58 - Mac Horvath (4th in ACC)
- Hits: 61 - Mac Horvath
- Runs: 57 - Mac Horvath (T-3rd in ACC)
- On-base percentage: .462 - Jackson Van De Brake
- Stolen bases: 21 - Mac Horvath (1st in ACC)
Pitching (minimum 1 IP/G):
- ERA: 4.11 - Connor Bovair
- Strikeouts: 61 - Max Carlson
- Innings pitched: 65.2 - Connor Bovair (6th in ACC)
- Wins: 4 - Connor Bovair
- Saves: 5 - Kevin Eaise (8th in ACC)
- Opposing Batting Average: .236 - Connor Bovair