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The Daily Tar Heel

Trio of starting pitchers lift North Carolina to three-game sweep of Boston College

Zac Gallen, J.B. Bukauskas and Benton Moss combined to throw 24 shutout innings over the weekend.

Benton Moss throws a pitch.
Benton Moss throws a pitch.

Benton Moss crossed his fingers.

“We’re like this,” he said with a smile on his face.

The “we” Moss was referring to was North Carolina (29-15, 13-10 ACC) baseball’s starting rotation of freshman J.B. Bukauskas, sophomore Zac Gallen and himself. 

This was the same starting rotation that dominated Boston College (22-21, 9-14 ACC) over the weekend, sweeping the three game series while not allowing a single earned run in 24 innings. 

“J.B. and I, and Gallen and I and Gallen and J.B., we’re all really tight, and we pull for each other,” Moss said. “We have a good relationship, and I think that helps a lot to have someone who’s in your position just on a different day to encourage you and kind of know what you’re going through.”

But the starting pitchers didn’t need any encouragement against Boston College.

Gallen kicked off the weekend by throwing his second career complete game and first career shutout Friday in a 1-0 victory. 

The next day, Bukauskas picked up where Gallen left off, pitching seven strong innings while allowing no runs and eight strikeouts. 

With the pressure to follow up his teammates’ strong performance, Moss started Sunday slowly, walking the first batter and falling behind 2-0 to the second batter. 

After a quick conference on the mound with his coach, he regained his composure and got out of the inning with no damage done. It was smooth sailing from there as Moss finished eight innings, only allowing two hits in the 6-0 victory. 

“I thought Benton did a really good job; walking the first guy, coming back from that and then doing what he did today was pretty incredible,” catcher Korey Dunbar said. 

Dunbar, who caught all three games, was also able to provide a boost with his bat as well, clubbing a two-run home run that gave the Tar Heels a lead Moss would never surrender. 

“He just sort of settled in,” Coach Mike Fox said of Moss. “A lot of first pitch strikes there, his cutter and his breaking ball; he was able to use them in any count. And again we played great defense, and he got a couple of big strikeouts when he needed them.” 

Moss said some of his success, especially with his cut-fastball, came from watching Gallen and Bukauskas dominate over the weekend.

“When they pitch well, you get to see how to attack the hitters,” Moss said. “It’s less helpful when any of us three has a bad outing, and the others don’t get to see what they’re bad against.”

When Gallen threw his shutout on Friday, Moss was taking notes.

“Gallen and I have some similar stuff,” he said. “I throw a few more curveballs than he does, but both of us have a cutter, so we were talking about how to use that against them.”

The trio impressed Fox, who said he couldn’t remember the last time a group of UNC starters didn’t allow an earned run over a weekend series.

“The last three days we really, really pitched well,” Fox said. “That’s probably an understatement.”

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