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Tuesday August 9th

UNC baseball bounces back from consecutive losses with 8-0 win over North Carolina A&T

UNC sophomore Angel Zarate (40) at bat on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 in Boshamer Stadium against NC A&T. UNC beat NC A&T 8-0.
Buy Photos UNC sophomore Angel Zarate (40) at bat on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 in Boshamer Stadium against NC A&T. UNC beat NC A&T 8-0.

The North Carolina baseball team used a strong performance from its pitching staff to shutout North Carolina A&T, 8-0, until UNC’s batters took control of the game after a three-run sixth inning.

What happened?

The Tar Heels (7-2) got on the board first in the opening inning, scoring a run off of a double to left-center field from Angel Zarate. The redshirt sophomore had a chance to score again in the second, but his hit bounced into the glove of the infielder, who threw the ball to second base before senior Dylan Harris could get there to end the second inning. 

The UNC offense eventually stalled out after its strong start, failing to score a run until the fifth inning and only manufacturing four hits during that span. 

The Aggies' (2-6) sophomore pitcher Gianni Smith had a very strong outing, preventing North Carolina from extending its lead. 

North Carolina finally got its second RBI from outfielder Tyler Kehoe. The first-year’s ground ball snuck past the outstretched glove of an infielder, allowing Harris enough time to sprint to home plate. It was Kehoe's first RBI of the reason, giving UNC a two-run cushion heading into the sixth inning. 

The momentum was now entirely in the Tar Heels’ favor. 

The lead grew to three when sophomore shortstop Danny Serretti picked up his fifth RBI of the season. North Carolina was able to capitalize on two consecutive Aggie errors to make the score 4-0. Kehoe followed that up with his second RBI of the day off a sacrifice fly. 

Harris added on to lead in the next inning when he crushed the ball just short of the outfield wall for an RBI triple. A wild pitch allowed Harris to make it home, bringing the score to 7-0. 

First-year Tyler Causey got the game’s only home run, the first of his career, to close out the scoring in the eight inning.

Who stood out?

Redshirt first-year pitcher Max Alba had a great day on the mound. He finished with six strikeouts and allowed zero runs on two hits in five innings of play. 

Kehoe’s fifth-inning run helped fuel the offensive jolt in the sixth. He capped off the terrific inning with another RBI, and the first-year showed plenty of production despite only two at-bats prior to Tuesday’s matchup. 

When was it decided?

UNC took advantage of the Aggie bullpen when North Carolina A&T took out Smith, breaking a long scoring drought in the fifth inning. 

The Aggies' pitchers and defenders struggled mightily after playing solid for the first half of the game. The errors were the biggest factor in their sixth-inning collapse.

Why does it matter?

North Carolina was coming off a series loss to Dallas Baptist, dropping the final two games before facing the Aggies. UNC's offense struggled to score, only getting three total runs in the losses. 

The Tar Heels wanted to get back on track with a strong performance against a North Carolina A&T team that had only won two games.

While they had their issues in the beginning, they got into rhythm in the second half and are now back on track after productive outings from some of the team's younger players.  

When do they play next?

UNC will play Minnesota in Minneapolis on Friday, Feb. 28, at 8 p.m. as part of the Cambria College Classic. It’s the Tar Heels’ first game of the regular season away from Chapel Hill. 

@ryanheller23

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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