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Friday August 12th

Notre Dame capitalizes on UNC baseball's bullpen in 11-8 win to clinch the series

UNC junior pitcher Joey Lancellotti (31) prepares to bat at the Boshamer Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020. UNC won against Middle Tennessee with a score of 5-4.
Buy Photos UNC junior pitcher Joey Lancellotti (31) prepares to bat at the Boshamer Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020. UNC won against Middle Tennessee with a score of 5-4.

The North Carolina baseball team fell to Notre Dame on Saturday, 11-8, in 10 innings after a five-run surge for UNC in the bottom of the seventh inning.

What happened?

The Tar Heels trailed early in the game, as they fell behind 2-0 in the first inning after allowing a two-run home run. UNC got on the board in the bottom of the second when Dallas Tessar hit a double to set up Mikey Madej to score Tessar moments later. North Carolina tied the game at two runs a piece in the bottom of the fourth inning when Tessar scored again on a passed ball.

Will Sandy, who started for UNC, came out during the top of the fifth with the game tied at 2-2. Sandy finished the afternoon with four strikeouts before being replaced by redshirt first-year Max Alba. Alba’s stint on the mound was short, as he was taken out for Austin Love during the top of the sixth inning. The Tar Heels then allowed an RBI from David LaManna to score two runners, falling behind 4-2.

The deficit grew in the seventh. Notre Dame scored on a hit by Zack Prajzner that scored Niko Kavadas, which was followed immediately by a home run that scored three runners to make the score 8-3 in favor of the Fighting Irish.

North Carolina matched Notre Dame’s scoring flurry with one of its own. After UNC got three runners on base with two walks and a hit-by-pitch, Joey Lancellotti singled to third base to score Aaron Sabato. With the next batting appearance, first-year catcher Will Stewart hit to center field to score Danny Serretti and Angel Zarate. Everything came full circle for Lancellotti, who scored on a hit by Tyler Causey that also scored Stewart. 

Down just one heading into the eighth inning, Davis Palmero, who replaced Love in the seventh inning, did not give up any runs or hits to keep the game at 8-7. On the other end, Sabato tied up the game on an unearned run from a Lancellotti hit.

Both teams went scoreless in the ninth inning, which sent the game into extra innings. 

Notre Dame scored three runners from a hit by Eric Gilgenbach to go ahead 11-8. UNC had an opportunity to respond in the bottom of the tenth, but could not capitalize. With two outs and one runner on base, Tessar was fielded out and Notre Dame secured the win.

Who stood out?

Sabato kept North Carolina in the game with the two runs he scored. Those plays closed the deficit for UNC when the team desperately needed scoring to match the Fighting Irish’s sixth and seventh innings. This game was also the second in a row that Sabato scored multiple runs. 

Lancellotti also had a major role in UNC’s comeback efforts. Lancellotti initiated the scoring for the Tar Heels in the seventh inning. He was directly involved in two of the scores during the seventh and one in the eighth.

When was it decided?

After a six run comeback by North Carolina, neither team scored in the ninth inning, extending the game. 

The game was ultimately decided in the 10th inning. With the bases loaded in the top of the 10th inning, Notre Dame hit a three-RBI double. There was a chance for UNC to answer, but the team could not deliver.

Why does it matter?

After losing to Notre Dame on Friday, it was imperative for North Carolina to even up the series for the weekend.

With ACC play now underway, North Carolina looks to improve its standing as well as it can within the conference. With one more game to play in the series, the team has an opportunity to start a sustainable win streak with games against Gardner-Webb and VMI before facing Duke. 

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels close out the series against Notre Dame on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Boshamer Stadium.


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