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The Daily Tar Heel

Adam Pate powers North Carolina baseball to victory over Coastal Carolina

Hunting Ground
Hunting Ground

Pate, not usually thought of as a power hitter, hit his first home run in his 107th career at-bat to highlight a strong performance in the Tar Heels’ 9-3 victory over No. 24 Coastal Carolina on Tuesday evening.

“I was just glad it went out,” Pate said. “I’m just glad I didn’t pop it up to be honest with you. I’m not a big home run hitter, but it was really cool. It was a really special moment.”

The sophomore finished 3-for-4 with three runs, a RBI, a stolen base and two walks.

“He’s just a joy to coach,” said Coach Mike Fox. “He plays hard and encourages his teammates. I need more like him. Obviously it’s just a big thrill to see guys like that have a good night and have success.”

Pate started the game with a leadoff double. A single by Tyler Ramirez would bring Pate sliding into home to give the Tar Heels a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

Early in the game it was a back-and-forth duel, with the Tar Heels taking and surrendering multiple leads.

“We had a lot of runners in scoring position,” Fox said. “That’s our weakness right now — we’re just not as good as we need to be with runners in scoring position.”

The Tar Heels had a few opportunities to separate themselves from the Chanticleers, but couldn’t capitalize on opportunities early, leaving the bases loaded in the fourth and the fifth.

But with a 4-3 lead in the sixth inning, Pate got back to doing what he does best: getting on base. His on-base percentage is .470.

“He’s a real dirtbag kind of guy, which helps our team especially at the top of the lineup getting on base,” Ramirez said. “It really helps out Skye (Bolt), Landon (Lassiter) and me trying to get him in somehow. One of the three of us usually, if he gets on base, has a good chance of bringing him in. It’s nice having him at the top getting on base for us.”

Pate opened the sixth inning with a single and quickly stole second base, before a Bolt single brought Pate home for the third time.

Bolt would score one batter later on a single by Lassiter, giving the Tar Heels a 6-3 lead.

But the Tar Heels weren’t done there. They tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the eighth, with Lassiter, Ramirez and Joe Dudek all scoring.

This time they did it without Pate’s help — something they look to often.

“He is the leader of our team, there’s no ifs, ands or buts about it,” Fox said. “He’s one of our toughest players mentally and physically.”

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