The North Carolina baseball team (8-4, 4-3 ACC) took game one of a three-game series against the Clemson Tigers (5-6, 1-3 ACC), winning 8-3 on Friday evening.
Clemson took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning with a home run off the bat of first baseman Caden Grice. After UNC was held hitless in the first, Tar Heel first baseman Brett Centracchio responded with a one-run blast in the bottom of the second to make it 2-1.
After a double tied things up in the bottom of the second, the Tar Heels were able to blow things open in the third, scoring four runs off two triples to give them a 6-2 lead they would never relinquish. Starting pitcher Austin Love kept Clemson silent at the plate after the two early runs, and allowed just one more run in 7.2 innings of work.
UNC put the nail in the coffin in the bottom of the seventh, scoring two more runs off third baseman Clemente Inclan’s two-run homer that extended the lead to 8-3. Shawn Rapp closed things out for the Tar Heels on the mound, striking out two in 1.1 innings of work to give the Tar Heels the win.
Who stood out?
First baseman Brett Centracchio and shortstop Danny Serretti led the Tar Heels at the plate, driving in three runs apiece.
Centracchio got UNC on the board in the bottom of the second inning when he pulled a home run to deep right field and followed it up in the bottom of the third with a two-RBI triple to give the Tar Heels an early 4-2 lead. Serretti tied things up in the bottom of the second with a double and extended UNC’s lead to four runs in the bottom of the third, following up Centracchio’s two-run triple with one of his own to break out of his early-season slump.
Sophomore Austin Love led the Tar Heels on the mound, holding Clemson to three runs after giving up two in the first inning. Love finished with 12 strikeouts in 7.2 innings of work and did not allow a walk.
When was it decided?
The Tar Heels took a four run lead in the bottom of the third — scoring four runs off two triples. UNC’s ace, Austin Love, was able to keep Clemson quiet at the plate after the Tigers took an early lead in the first, silencing any chance of a comeback. UNC’s bats proved to be too much to deal with for a Clemson pitching staff that gave up eight runs in the ball game.
Why does it matter?
The win was big for UNC, as the team moved to one game over .500 in conference play and 8-4 overall. After losing two games on the road to Virginia Tech last weekend, as well as a mid-week non-conference game against Liberty on Tuesday, UNC bounced back to snag the first game of the weekend series. The Tar Heels were also able to keep things hot at the plate, as the team has now scored 21 runs over the last three games.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will be back in action at 2 p.m. on Saturday in Boshamer Stadium for game two of the series. First-year Max Carlson will be on the mound for UNC and will be looking for his third win of the young season.
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