The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 2nd

UNC Makes History With Sweep of Seminoles

With its Sunday win against Florida State, UNC's baseball team completed the first-ever sweep of the Seminoles.

At North Carolina.

Back in September, the UNC football team notched its first-ever win against the Seminoles, shocking No. 6 FSU with a 41-9 win at Kenan Stadium.

This weekend, another FSU powerhouse team came to Chapel Hill and lost.

Three times.

Sunday's 9-1 win at Boshamer Stadium gave the UNC baseball team its first ever three-game sweep of the No. 3 Seminoles, a program that has only been shown the broom three times in ACC play - all by Clemson - since joining the conference 10 years ago.

"I wouldn't call it a defining moment for our program," said UNC coach Mike Fox. "But I think we've all sort of been maybe looking for a sign that we're moving in the right direction.

"You need some sort of validation that you've got the right kids, got the right philosophy. And I felt that all along, but it's still nice to kind of have it validated."

As they have in seven of their nine consecutive wins, the Tar Heels (15-8, 5-0 in the ACC) jumped on the opposition in the first inning.

Adam Greenberg led the game off by slapping a single to left. Russ Adams then singled, sending Greenberg to third. During the next at-bat, Adams took off for second, and when FSU catcher Aaron Cheesman tried to throw him out, Greenberg stole home.

"Best two guys in the nation you can have right there doing that," said UNC third baseman Chris Maples. "If one of them doesn't steal on you, the other's going to. It's a 1-2 punch you can't block."

UNC added two more runs in the first on a bases-loaded walk by Blair Varnes, who started for the Seminoles (26-8, 2-4), and a fielder's choice.

"We said, 'Let's win the first three innings and we'll have a chance to win the game,'" said Fox. "We put some pressure on them, and they had to come from behind."

Varnes (4-3) did his part after the first inning to keep the Seminoles from getting too far behind, allowing just one more run on a solo shot by Mell Adams.

But behind a strong outing from UNC sophomore Daniel Moore (4-0), who allowed just one unearned run in seven innings, FSU scored just once.

When the Seminoles did get men on base, they were unable to bring them home, stranding nine on the day. Twice, Russ Adams and Chad Prosser turned 4-6-3 double plays on preseason All-American Ryan Barthelemy.

"Those two guys can play in the middle," said Fox. "And as a former middle infielder, I take pride in watching those guys turn double plays and make saves."

UNC added five more runs on five hits in the eighth to seal the victory.

On Friday night, UNC had trouble getting to the FSU's pitchers, trailing 7-2 in the seventh. But with two home runs from Maples, the Tar Heels scored nine runs in the inning to win 11-7.

Saturday's game was never in doubt. Garry Bakker gave up three hits in seven innings and Maples drove in four more runs to give UNC a 7-1 victory.

Spanning back to Friday, the Tar Heels, who are off to their best conference start since 1990, outscored the Seminoles 25-2 to end the series.

Said Maples, who finished the series 6-for-11 with 11 RBI and three home runs, "We think we can play with anybody in the country."

According to FSU coach Mike Martin - whose team has beaten No. 1 Stanford, No. 10 Florida and No. 23 Arizona State this season - they can.

"They had as many athletes on the field as I've seen this year, and I'm talking about Arizona State and Stanford," Martin said. "You look at first base, center field, left field. Third base, the guy comes in and closes.

"North Carolina is better than Florida State. They beat us, just said 'Take this.' And we couldn't counter."

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.

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