Going into this weekend, North Carolina baseball really needed some wins. They had gone just 3-5 over the previous two weeks, taking two ACC series losses in the process. Things weren’t getting easier for them either, as they were set to hit the road and take on a projected NCAA Tournament team in Virginia Tech this past weekend.
Well, they still have some work to do this season, but the Tar Heels came away with a much needed series victory over the Hokies.
Friday: Virginia Tech 7, North Carolina 0
Despite taking the series win, things did not start out ideally for Carolina. Tech starter Anthony Arguelles threw 7.1 shutout innings as the Hokies cruised in the opener.
After a scoreless first inning, VT opened the scoring in the second inning, picking up three runs off UNC starter Connor Bovair. They added two more in the fourth to really take control of the game.
Carolina had their best chances to score in the third and eighth innings, the latter of which finally knocked Arguelles out of the game. However in both instances, they left two runners on base, as they wouldn’t end up getting on the board in the opener.
Saturday (Game One): North Carolina 12, Virginia Tech 8
After leading by as many as nine runs, things got a little scary for UNC late, but they eventually came out with a win to even up the series.
The Hokies took an early lead by scoring three runs in the first inning off Carolina pitcher Dalton Pence. However, the Tar Heels would answer with a combined 12 runs across the third and fourth innings. Leading the way was third baseman Mac Horvath, who homered twice, driving home a total of seven runs.
Horvath's third inning grand slam put the Heels on top.— Carolina Baseball (@DiamondHeels) April 29, 2023
Carolina 4, VT 3 | T3 pic.twitter.com/DBHSYUZ7jJ
Horvath smashes a three-run, 426-foot home run to put the Heels ahead by four. It's his fourth two-homer game of the season.— Carolina Baseball (@DiamondHeels) April 29, 2023
Carolina 7, VT 3 | T4 pic.twitter.com/Qkz5BC9uNm
The Hokies started to chip away at that deficit by scoring three runs in the fifth. UNC pitching then managed to strand two runners on base, two more in the sixth, and VT left the bases loaded in the eighth.
In the ninth is when things started to get really scary. Carolina pitcher Kevin Eaise got two outs, but also issued two walks in the process. He then allowed singles to the next two batters, the second of which scored two runs, getting Tech within four. At that point, Scott Forbes went back to the bullpen and brought in Matt Poston, who then issued a walk to load the bases. That put the Heels in a very iffy spot, as the game-tying run was stepping to the plate. However, Poston struck out the next batter on four pitches to escape the jam and win the game.
Saturday - Game 2: North Carolina 13, Virginia Tech 7
With the threat of inclement weather looming on Sunday, the series finale was moved up and played as the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday. In it, the Tar Heel offense carried the team to another win as they outslugged VT.
The Hokies scored the first run of the game in the first inning, but UNC eventually answered back in the third inning. That began a run of seven-straight innings where the Heels scored at least one run, eventually pulling away from Tech.
Horvath was again one of the stars, as he went 2-for-2 with three walks and four RBI. He hit another home run, and his overall performance over the last couple games saw him named Perfect Game’s Player of the Week.
.@DiamondHeels @MacHorvath and @WSURaidergang's @JakeShirk14 were both incredible this past weekend, putting up big-time performances to take home our Player and Pitcher of the Week honors.— Perfect Game USA (@PerfectGameUSA) May 1, 2023
College Player, Pitcher of the Weekhttps://t.co/yOyBeD1Ua5 pic.twitter.com/iJ6cMC4DFc
In total, seven Tar Heels got a hit in the game. Casey Cook recorded three, while Tomas Frick went 2-for-4 with a walk and three RBI. The pitching wasn’t spotless as the Hokies scored seven runs in the game, but Poston played another big role, as he threw two scoreless innings at the end to clinch the series win.
There’s no weekend series coming up for UNC, but they will play in a pair of mid-week games. Tonight at the Bosh, the Tar Heels will host Campbell before hitting the road to play a good East Carolina team tomorrow.