After the North Carolina men’s baseball team closed out its series against Clemson with a 5-3 win on Sunday, head coach Scott Forbes secured his first ACC series sweep as the team’s skipper.
Forbes previously spent 19 years on the UNC coaching staff as an assistant before taking over as head coach in the summer. He replaced longtime head coach Mike Fox, who won 948 games during his time in Chapel Hill.
Although earning his first sweep was a major personal accomplishment, Forbes deflected the focus onto the team’s success.
“Obviously, getting a sweep is really hard to do in this league,” Forbes said. “ It doesn’t matter how you do it, if you get it, you should walk out of here extremely happy – and that’s what we are going to do.”
The team played Virginia and Virginia Tech in its first two ACC series of the season and although the Tar Heels only went 3-3 over that span, the new coach had the team moving in the right direction.
And while Forbes received much of the attention this weekend, the sweep wouldn't have happened if it wasn’t for the team’s solid offensive showing. Over three games, the Tar Heels scored 18 runs against the Tigers.
One of the big standouts at the plate was redshirt junior infielder Clemente Inclan. After homering in the team’s previous game against Liberty, Inclan hit a home run in each of the Tar Heels’ three games this weekend, which brought his home-run streak to four games.
Following the abrupt end to last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Inclan has capitalized on his opportunity to play in 2021.
“He is a guy who keeps his head down and works hard every day,” sophomore Justice Thompson said.
While Inclan has not previously taken the role of a power hitter, the last four games proved differently. Before his home run against Liberty, he had gone his entire college career without hitting a homer.
In his first three seasons, Inclan was only hitting .240 and had trouble cracking his way into a talented lineup. This year, he has been a key piece to the Tar Heels’ 10-4 start and No. 14 ranking in the Baseball America poll.
“I can’t tell you how much joy it brings all of us as coaches to see Clem succeed because he is the ultimate teammate,” Forbes said.
Following the brief four-game homestand, the Tar Heels will play their next four games on the road at Liberty and Boston College. Although playing on the road is challenging for any team, Forbes is excited to see what the Tar Heels are made of during a difficult stretch.
“It starts now with rest and recovery,” Forbes said. “We’ve got to keep them grounded because we’ve got four games on the road.”
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