The Panthers, meanwhile, wasted no time taking an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after an RBI double and an RBI single.
The score remained 2-0 until the sixth inning, when Jackson Hesterlee's single to right field batted in Ike Freeman and cut the Panther lead in half.
The rest of the game would be all Pitt, however. The Panthers responded in the bottom of the sixth by scoring two runs. With the score now, 4-1 the Panthers offense kept rolling. In the last two innings of the contest, Pittsburgh scored three more runs to bring the lead to six.
After reaching home in the sixth inning, North Carolina was unable to score further runs and was outhit 14-3. Two of those three North Carolina hits came off the bat of Sabato.
Behind the pitching of West, Pitt was able to cruise to a 7-1 win in the first game of the series.
Game Two: UNC 10, Pittsburgh 6
Due to inclement weather set to hit Pittsburgh, the game originally scheduled for Sunday as moved to Saturday, setting up a double header.
In the first game, the Tar Heel offense started off fast. Sabato hit a double off the left field wall, which allowed UNC to take an early 1-0 lead in the first inning.
The Tar Heels tacked on two more runs in the second inning thanks to a wild pitch which allowed Hesterlee to score and a sacrifice fly that batted in Dylan Harris.
North Carolina was able to hold on to its lead because of a dominant performance from junior pitcher Austin Bergner.
In the sixth inning, UNC's Brandon Martorano stretched the lead to five with a two-run RBI single to centerfield.
With the lead, Bergner continued to dominate on the hill, allowing just two hits and no runs while posting seven strikeouts. In addition, Bergner tied his career high with eight innings pitched in one outing.
The Tar Heels were not done yet. In the top of the ninth, junior Michael Busch hit a two-run RBI single up the middle. Next up was Sabato, who hit a two-run home run over the center field wall. With men on second and third base, Hesterlee grounded out, but another North Carolina run was able to score, giving UNC five runs in the ninth inning. The Tar Heels led 10-0, and needed three more outs to secure the victory.
In the bottom of the ninth, Andrew Grogan took over for Bergner on the mound and gave up a two-run home run. The Panthers did not stop there; in the ninth inning they faced two more North Carolina pitchers, and scored four more runs in the inning. Although Pittsburgh was able to score six runs in the ninth, UNC survived the scare, secured the victory, 10-6, and evened the series.
Game Three: Pittsburgh 7, UNC 3
In the rubber match, North Carolina jumped out to an early lead.
In the third inning, the Tar Heels scored the first run of the game. A wild pitch allowed McGee to score from third base. At the end of the inning, the Tar Heels led, 1-0.
In the fourth inning the Panthers were able to respond. With one out in the inning, Pittsburgh’s Nico Popa hit a solo home run over the left field wall. That was Pittsburgh’s first hit of the game, and tied the game at one run apiece. After giving up the home run, North Carolina pitcher Will Sandy got one quick out to end the inning.
The score remained tied until the sixth inning, when an RBI single to center field allowed Pitt to take a 2-1 lead.
With one out in the sixth inning and two runners on base, UNC's Martorano hit a ground ball and was able to beat out the throw to first base. On that play, Freeman scored from third base and tied the game. Enwiller hit a sacrifice bunt and another North Carolina run scored, giving the Tar Heels a 3-2 lead.
Pittsburgh regained the lead in bottom of the seventh inning, this time for good. With two outs and the bases loaded, the Panthers hit a double to left field, and three runs scored. In the eighth, the Panthers they scored two more runs and increased their lead, 7-3.
Down four runs with three outs to go, the Tar Heels were unable to manage a comeback, dropping the game and the series to Pittsburgh.
Who stood out?
Sabato stood out for the Tar Heels, securing two of the three North Carolina hits in the first game. Sabato’s offense carried over into Saturday, where he hit a two-run home run over the center field wall, his 12th home run of the season. In the third game of the series, Sabato went 2-4, and was one of two Tar Heels who had a multi-hit game.
Bergner also dominated on the mound in the second game o the series. He pitched eight complete innings, tying a career high, and didn't give up a run. At one point, Bergner retired 18 straight Pittsburgh batters.
Why does it matter?
After two losses to Pitt, North Carolina dropped its third ACC series of the season. The Tar Heels are second in the ACC Coastal Division behind Georgia Tech, and have one ACC series left this season, against N.C. State, before they head to the ACC Tournament.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will return to Boshamer Stadium and face High Point on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
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