After switching his walkup song in 2018, McGee decided to bring “Almost Famous” back.
“To try to find some more hits,” McGee said. “It gets me into rhythm coming up to the plate.”
As he stepped in the batter’s box, McGee found his groove at the perfect time.
“The first pitch was a curve ball, so there was nothing you can do right there,” McGee said. “The second pitch I didn’t think was a strike – probably shouldn’t have shown such emotions as I did. After that, I was trying to protect and put the ball in play.”
With two strikes, McGee stayed composed. On the third pitch, McGee fouled the ball out of play to stay alive.
Then, on the next pitch, McGee hit a blooper to left field, which landed right in front of the Virginia left fielder. McGee’s single allowed the winning run to score from third base.
Before McGee’s walk-off, the Tar Heels had not scored since the second inning. After the second, UNC held an early 4-2 lead, but Virginia was able to respond. In the third and fourth innings, the Cavaliers scored a run apiece to tie the game at four.
Then, the North Carolina bullpen was able to quiet the Virginia offense. Caden O’Brien and Joey Lancellotti took the mound and pitched a combined six innings, giving up five hits and allowing zero runs.
“I thought Caden and Joey were sensational out of the bullpen,” head coach Mike Fox said. “They are a good offensive team and we needed that to stay in the game, because it was a battle of the bullpens there.”
The strong Tar Heel bullpen allowed McGee to come up clutch – but not before receiving a message from one of his coaches.
“Coach Wierzbicki pulled me aside and said, 'He hasn’t really thrown any off speed,'” McGee said.
When McGee made contact with the ball, and knew the game was over.
“As soon as I hit it I knew it was down,” McGee said.
With the single, McGee secured his second hit of the game, which lengthened his multi-hit streak to four games.
More importantly, though, McGee found his rhythm.
“He looks a lot like he did his freshman year,” Fox said. “The way he is standing in there he is unbelievably confident right now. He is really looking at the ball. He has all year.”
@DTHSports | email@example.com