“That was crazy,” first-year designated hitter Aaron Sabato said. “The longest inning I have probably ever played in baseball. We just strung together good at-bats. I think that is a big notch to our team how we didn’t get out of our zone of, OK, we put up a lot of runs, let's just stop now.”
Patience at the plate, something the UNC team emphasizes, was a factor in the explosive inning.
“It is a big thing we talk about as an offense,” junior third baseman Ashton McGee said. “Just have to be patient and look for your pitch. If you don’t get it, you have to get on base and try to help the team.”
Before the huge inning for the Tar Heels, they had to fight the Duke offense in the beginning of the game. Duke scored in the top of three different innings, but each time North Carolina quickly responded with runs of its own.
After a back and forth start to the game, UNC took control in the bottom of the fifth. With the game tied at 4-4, a timely double by Dylan Enwiller with the base loaded brought in three North Carolina runs. UNC didn’t stop there.
After Enwiller stole third, catcher Brandon Martorano hit a single to drive him home. In the fifth inning alone, the Tar Heels scored five runs on four hits, and took an 8-4 lead.
Although Duke was able to bounce back in the top of the seventh and score two runs, the North Carolina offense responded with eight runs in the bottom of the seventh and took a commanding 16-6 lead.
Only four Tar Heels had more than one hit in this contest, while three were able to secure multiple walks in the contest. The mixture of patience and timely hits propelled the Tar Heels to victory.
The 16 runs for the Tar Heels is the most scored against Duke since 2010, when UNC scored 21.
With the win, North Carolina earned its sixth consecutive win and first ACC conference sweep of the season. The Tar Heels are now tied with Georgia Tech on top of the ACC Coastal Division leaderboard.
After UNC was swept against Clemson in its first ACC series of the season, the sweep over rival Duke was a strong performance for the team.
“I feel like we needed to finish the month on a good note,” Fox said. “We have been able to do that since we started the league 0-3. To be standing where we are now is a great credit to our kids and just continuing to fight and believe. Hopefully, that is a good sign for us.”
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