An eight-run seventh inning gave UNC baseball (22-7, 7-5 ACC) a 16-6 blowout win over Duke (14-14, 3-9 ACC) on Sunday, and completed the three game sweep of the Blue Devils.
On a day when Duke was barreling up on UNC starter Gianluca Dalatri’s pitches, Dalatri showed a knack for escaping jams. He stranded seven Blue Devil runners on base across the first three innings without allowing a run, including back-to-back strikeouts in the first to escape a bases loaded, one out situation.
Duke scored first in the fourth inning on a solo shot that barely scooted inside the left field foul pole, and got another run on an RBI double before Dalatri was pulled.
In the bottom of the inning, the Tar Heels quickly got the runs back and then some. Danny Serretti drew a walk before Aaron Sabato launched a no-doubter over the shed beyond the left field wall. Ashton McGee came all the way around after a double, scoring on a Brandon Martorano sacrifice fly to put UNC ahead, 3-2.
A pair of singles given up in the top of the fifth hurt the Tar Heels, as both scored on a sac fly and a double to left center.
But again, UNC got it back and more in the bottom of the inning. Ike Freeman doubled home Michael Busch from first to tie the game. Freeman advanced to third on a groundout, but was thrown out at home on a fielder’s choice batted ball by Serretti.
Two walks loaded the bases for Dylan Enwiller, who delivered a shot into the gap it right center that made it all the way to the wall, clearing the bases. Enwiller stole third and was driven home by Martorano. who then stole second on the first pitch to Dylan Harris. Harris ultimately struck out, but the five run inning put UNC ahead 8-4.
Duke got two runs back on a single in the seventh, but the Tar Heels loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the frame. They blew the game open, sending 12 batters to the plate and scoring eight runs on only three hits.
After an hour-long seventh inning, the final two frames were uneventful as UNC went on to win 16-6.
When was it decided?
The seventh inning turned the game from a high scoring, back-and-forth affair to a blowout. Four Duke pitchers allowed four walks and hit a batter with a pitch, along with an error by the shortstop.
In fact, after the inning the Tar Heels led 16-6 despite being outhit, 14-12, up to that point.
There were only two RBI hits in the inning. Dallas Tessar pinch ran for Sabato, the first batter of the inning. He would ultimately score on a wild pitch and then came up to the plate again later in the inning, driving in Freeman with a double.
Ben Casparius followed that up with a two-RBI single before Enwiller struck out to end the inning.
It was the most runs scored in an inning by the Tar Heels this season, and gave UNC its most runs scored against Duke since 2010. From top to bottom, the inning took more than an hour.
Why does it matter?
UNC swept rival Duke, avenging a series loss to the Blue Devils a season ago. The series also saw UNC climb from below .500 in ACC play to two games over it, and the team now stands atop the ACC Coastal standings in a tie with Georgia Tech.
Where do they play next?
The Tar Heels host Davidson on Tuesday before traveling to Georgia Tech for a three-game series next weekend between the two ACC Coastal leaders.
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