“I was rounding first and I looked out there and saw it bouncing around,” he said. “I was like ‘OK, that’s weird.’”
Those peculiar bounces were coming from the grandstands of Karen Shelton Stadium, the home of the reigning national champion UNC field hockey team. Luckily, field hockey is a fall sport.
According to sophomore outfielder Angel Zarate, who finished the day with a career-high four hits and two RBIs of his own, hitting the field hockey stadium is the true mark of a Tar Heel slugger.
“We had big power hitters last year like Michael Busch and Danny Serretti who hit it,” Zarate said. “But that might have been the hardest one I’ve ever seen.”
For the North Carolina baseball team, this one-run homer was a wake-up call. Up just 2-0 in the fifth inning, the Tar Heels were struggling to find offense.
Even after the home run, the Spartans kept things close, at one point trailing by just a run. However, their chances of upsetting their in-state rival were dashed by a seventh-inning meltdown that featured two errors and eight allowed runs, leaving Harris' home run as the most noteworthy moment of the day.
Harris, a senior who transferred to UNC from Walters State before his junior year, has made the most of his time as a Tar Heel. Since he joined the team, the outfielder has produced 11 home runs and 37 RBI. As the team's leadoff hitter this season, he's batting .348 so far, a significant jump from last year when he hit .268.
The home run is emblematic of Harris' power. His four home runs this season are good for the most on the team.
“He’s been our best hitter,” head coach Mike Fox said. “Most consistent hitter by far from starting the season to now.”
While the likes of Serretti and sophomore slugger Aaron Sabato have yet to produce as expected, with both hitting sub-.270 through 13 games, Harris will look to continue to be a bright spot at the top of the lineup.
While he and many others may have been surprised by the distance on his fifth-inning dinger, Fox was confident it wasn't a singular event.
“He’s capable of doing that, it wasn’t a fluke,” Fox said. “But that was a big swing of the bat.”
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