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Friday August 12th

'So far, so good': UNC baseball improved to 5-0 with a lopsided win over High Point

<p>UNC first-year short stop Danny Serretti (1) at bat against UNCG in Boshamer Stadium on Wednesday, April 9, 2019. The Tar Heels beat the Spartans 17-4.</p>
Buy Photos UNC first-year short stop Danny Serretti (1) at bat against UNCG in Boshamer Stadium on Wednesday, April 9, 2019. Serretti, now a sophomore, scored twice in the game against High Point on Feb. 19, 2020.

After losing a deep core of players to graduation and last year’s MLB Draft, UNC is leaning on its younger players to maintain its spot in the top ranks of college baseball. The No. 17 North Carolina baseball team only had one senior in Wednesday’s starting lineup against High Point, but that didn't stop them from taking a 14-0 victory.

The lack of upperclassmen in the Tar Heel lineup has led sophomores Danny Serretti and Aaron Sabato to become stand-in veterans at the top of UNC's lineup. 

The duo highlighted the top of the North Carolina lineup for the second straight season and were particularly impressive in the victory over High Point. 

Sabato, who led the team in home runs as a first-year, finally hit his first shot of the season. With UNC already leading 12-0 in the seventh inning, the sophomore skied a deep two-run home run over the left field wall to add insult to injury.

Serretti also had a big day for the Tar Heels. The shortstop, who hit .299 last season, went 2-3 at the plate, scored twice and knocked in a run of his own. 

But it can't just be those two that produce — a handful of young talent has to make major contributions in order for UNC to have another successful campaign.

“I think it just starts with showing the younger guys how to go about their business,” Serretti said. “Get them coming in every day, doing their job and helping the team win. That’s the difference.” 

Throughout North Carolina’s first four games, the first-years on the team have stepped up, and that continued on Wednesday afternoon. 

First-year catcher Will Stewart had a major impact for the Tar Heels. The substitute came in to hit for fellow first-year Eric Grintz in the fifth inning and made the most out of his three plate appearances, knocking in three runs on two hits and scoring a run of his own. 

“Coming in and understanding my role, looking up to the older guys,” Stewart said. “It was the same old approach I’ve had, just trying to get a good pitch to hit.” 

Another North Carolina first-year, Patrick Alvarez, earned a starting role at third base and made an impact on the scoreboard for the Tar Heels against High Point with an RBI. 

The success of these first-years could be due to the experience of their coaching staff. Head coach Mike Fox is in his 22nd season at the helm for UNC and is joined in his longevity by associate coach Scott Forbes, who is now in his 19th season in Chapel Hill. 

“That’s important to have consistency in your coaching staff,” Fox said. “We all know each other, we all teach the same thing, we all hopefully talk the same language to these kids.” 

That consistency has proved to be useful early this season as North Carolina has one its first five games, albeit against weaker competition. But with a weekend series against a Dallas Baptist team that reached an NCAA Regional last year coming up, North Carolina’s young talent will look to continue its success against a proven squad.

“So far, so good,” Fox said. “They’re kind of feeling their way through the first part of college baseball and learning the experience.” 

@zachycrain

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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