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Offensive woes plague UNC baseball in series sweep at hands of Wake Forest

UNC Baseball team gathers on the mound.
UNC Baseball team gathers on the mound.

Great pitching couldn’t help an uninspired offensive performance for the North Carolina baseball team this weekend.

After losing the first two games of its series with Wake Forest on Friday and Saturday, No. 13 UNC lost 3-2 on Sunday to suffer its fourth ACC series loss of the season. 

Coach Mike Fox was at a loss for words following his team’s mediocre hitting performance throughout the series. 

“We’re just in an unbelievable funk,” Fox said. “We don’t have one hitter that goes up there and looks like they’re confident in the box.”

Confidence comes from consistency, and the Tar Heels (26-15, 9-12 ACC) were anything but consistent this weekend. 

After scoring 17 runs in its Wednesday win over William & Mary, UNC's bats fell flat in the three-game sweep by the Demon Deacons (26-17, 10-11 ACC) . 

North Carolina lost Game 1 on Friday 6-1 and Game 2 on Saturday by a score of 5-4 before coming up short in the series finale. 

The Tar Heels never fell far behind in all three contests, but UNC’s offense could not produce the firepower to overcome its opponent. The only bright spot in the batting order was a Saturday home run by sophomore first baseman Brian Miller and a pinch-hit home run on Sunday by junior outfielder Tyler Lynn. 

Fox expressed frustration with his team’s inability to get over the hump when the score was tight.

“Games are close and you’re fighting for your life,” he said. “You’ve got to execute.”

Despite UNC's offensive woes, its pitching still found success. Junior Zac Gallen started Friday’s game, pitching 6 2/3 innings and recording seven strikeouts while allowing three runs. 

Junior relief pitcher A.J Bogucki shined in Sunday’s game, pitching 4 2/3 innings of relief and allowing only three hits. He ended up suffering a loss after Wake Forest’s Stuart Fairchild hit a walk-off double to secure the victory. 

Fox said he couldn’t be happier with Bogucki's performance.

“He’s been sensational for us and I feel bad for him,” he said.

While Bogucki had a solid outing, he was given no run support. Fox acknowledged his team went cold at the plate but that Bogucki kept North Carolina in the game regardless.

“He pitched great and we wouldn’t have even been in that situation had it not been for A.J.,” Fox said.

As the Tar Heels look ahead, they hope to leave their hitting struggles in the past. UNC is in the final stretch of ACC play, and Fox says he doesn’t believe his team can harp on past games if it wishes to succeed.

“We’ll have to recover,” he said. “That’s all we have to do is recover and be ready for Tuesday.”

@Evan_Chronis

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