In the top of the seventh, Duke faced three different North Carolina pitchers and scored six runs. With one man on base, Duke’s Kyle Gallagher hit a two-run home run over the left field fence, a hit that carried the momentum with it. With the Tar Heels down two runs after the half inning, they were still confident they could come back.
“We knew we had the firepower to come back,” first-year Danny Serretti said. “It is a little bit of a hit when they put up a five or six spot on you, especially when you are up pretty big. We all believe in ourselves and know what this offense can do, so we just took it one at-bat at a time.”
The Tar Heels didn’t take long to respond. In the bottom of the inning, Busch stepped up to the plate and hit a single to right field past the Duke second baseman. After a walk by Ike Freeman, first-year Caleb Roberts bunted the ball and reached on a fielder’s choice. When the Duke catcher tried to get Busch out at third base, he committed an error and Busch scored on the play. North Carolina then only trailed Duke by one run.
Next up was Serretti — who was hitless in the contest up to that point. That didn't keep him from doing something special.
“I was trying to get a good swing on the ball, get my pitch,” Serretti said. “I faced that pitcher last night, and he struck me out. I knew he liked to attack inside, so I backed off the plate a little bit. I was able to get my barrel on it and squeak it through.”
Serretti hit a double down the right field line and scored Freeman to tie the game at 7-7. When Serretti touched the second base bag, he knew that hit had been crucial in turning the tide.
“I was pretty fired up,” Serretti said, “Any time can help and see everyone in the dugout and in the stands just screaming their heads off it kind of gets to you.”
In that moment, the momentum shifted.
With the score still tied at 7-7 in the eighth, Busch stepped up to the plate in his last at-bat of the day.
With a full count, Busch caught a hanging breaking ball and drove the ball over the right field wall to secure the victory, 8-7. The stadium erupted.
“Good hitters don’t miss those, so that was a big swing of the bat,” head coach Mike Fox said. “Michael was a little frustrated earlier in the game because he couldn’t get one. The good ones step up there in the end of the game."
"The most important at-bat is usually your last one.”
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