BY Pat James
UNC baseball finishes rough April with 9-4 win over Campbell
Infielder Logan Warmoth (7) celebrates his home run against Campbell University on Wednesday.
After an 18-2 start to the season, the North Carolina baseball team entered its final two games of April with a 6-11 record this month.
With a weekend break for final exams looming, Coach Mike Fox didn’t know what his team’s mindset would be with postseason play just around the bend.
But on the heels of a walk-off win over UNC-Wilmington, the Tar Heels showed their coach they’re ready to put their April struggles behind them, defeating Campbell 9-4 on Wednesday at Boshamer Stadium.
After both teams failed to score in the first inning, shortstop Logan Warmoth came to the plate with no outs and a runner on base in the bottom of the second. On a 2-2 pitch, the sophomore hit a two-run home run to left field.
Warmoth’s home run jump-started UNC’s offense, as the Tar Heels (28-15) scored seven total runs between the second and fourth innings.
Meanwhile, North Carolina starter Rodney Hutchison kept the Camels (22-21) off the scoreboard, pitching five scoreless innings before running into trouble in the bottom of the sixth.
The first-year loaded the bases with one out before hitting a batter and allowing a two-run single, cutting UNC’s lead to 7-3.
The Tar Heels turned to reliever Brett Daniels with runners on first and second base, looking to escape the inning with their four-run lead intact. And with a strikeout and a groundout, he ended Campbell’s scoring threat.
The sophomore carried his momentum into the next two innings, striking out three batters and not allowing any players on base.
“He’s been our backbone in the bullpen all year,” Warmoth said of Daniels. “You’ve seen his numbers. Day in and day out, he comes ready to pitch. … He’s got the bulldog mentality that he’s going to throw every day.
“He’s going to do what it takes to win.”
And despite allowing a run in the top of the ninth inning, Daniels’ pitching helped UNC enter May on a two-game winning streak.
“This month hasn’t been the best, as well all know. Next month is what really matters, especially going into the ACC Tournament and the NCAA Tournament. We all believe. Everybody in that locker room believes. We know we have it in us, and we’re just going to keep trucking along. We’ll take ourselves against anybody.” — Hutchison on the team’s mentality entering April.
North Carolina assistant coach Scott Jackson posted a .268 career batting average in 182 games at Campbell, where he earned his bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. He also spent two seasons on the Camels’ coaching staff after his playing career.
Warmoth’s home run in the bottom of the second inning marked the second of his career. His first came against Davidson on March 17, 2015.
Three numbers that matter
6: The Tar Heels’ leadoff batter reached base in six of eight innings. North Carolina scored in four of those innings.
4: Campbell committed four errors during Wednesday’s game. Three of those errors came in the bottom of the fourth inning, leading to three UNC runs.
8: Daniels retired eight straight batters after entering the game in the top of the sixth inning. His three innings of work and four strikeouts both matched career highs.
The Tar Heels take a five-day break for final exams before returning to Boshamer Stadium on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. contest against Virginia Commonwealth.
Next up in Sports
The Daily Tar Heel welcomes thoughtful discussion on all of our stories, but please keep comments civil and on-topic.