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The Daily Tar Heel

Tar Heels shut out Appalachian on Tuesday

UNC beat the Mountaineers 9-0

Junior outfielder Skye Bolt runs to second base. The Tarheels beat Appalachian State 9-0. 

Junior outfielder Skye Bolt runs to second base. The Tarheels beat Appalachian State 9-0. 

Freshman pitcher Hunter Williams accepted a challenge Tuesday night.

“Well, Coach challenged us, for the starting pitchers, to just dominate the first five to six innings so we don’t have to use as much of the bullpen, and I just tried to fulfill that challenge,” he said.

And he didn’t disappoint. Williams pitched six scoreless innings in the No. 22 North Carolina baseball team’s 9-0 win over Appalachian State.

“I always work off my fastball every chance I can, then try to keep them off balance with the off speed,” Williams said. “I worked today more with the curveball, it hasn’t been my best pitch — usually my best pitch is a slider — but with the curveball I just pictured having more depth and today everything was working.”

Before Tuesday, UNC's mid-week pitchers averaged 2.2 innings.

“I felt like my old self from high school,” he said. “It was definitely more control, I felt like I had a different presence on the mound.”

The Tar Heels didn’t have any errors in Boshamer Stadium and stayed ahead the entire game.

“I’m always pleased with a zero under that column,” Coach Mike Fox said.

Junior center fielder Skye Bolt, who hit a two-run homer to left field in the seventh inning, agreed and said it was a good feeling.

“I think any time you go out and put runs out on the board, first, first and foremost, is a tell-tale sign of when we’re playing big ball, I think,” he said. “Playing ahead’s a lot more fun than playing from behind, I’ll tell you that.”

After Tuesday’s shut-out, Bolt thinks the team is finally coming together. Freshman Zack Gahagan stepped up with three runs and two hits against the Mountaineers.

“I think some guys are starting to play like they’re capable,” Bolt said. “We’re starting to get into the meat of the season, and we’re getting some guys back healthy that have been out the past weeks.”

Fox credited his freshmen for working to get better.

“Watch Gahagan and Logan Warmoth work, I love seeing them out there,” he said. “And I think they’re setting the tone, because they’re back there and other guys are going back there, hitting with Coach (Scott) Jackson before our pregame meal. They want to be good."

As the team is coming together, Fox is preparing it for this weekend’s matchup against No. 15 Miami.

“This game is so much about confidence in between your ears and when you start playing well, it usually kinda snowballs and that, hopefully, seems to have happened to a few of them.”

And as more players like Williams find their confidence, Fox knows the game will come more naturally. 

“Winning is good,” Fox said. “Winning solves a lot of problems. We’ll find out Friday.”

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