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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC baseball beats Clemson, 5-4, to take 2-0 series lead


UNC first-year pitcher Max Carlson (35) delivers a pitch during UNC's 7-4 win over James Madison at Boshamer Stadium, Feb. 20, 2021.

The North Carolina baseball team (9-4, 5-3 ACC) took on Clemson (5-7, 1-4) for day two of a three-game series at Boshamer Stadium. After pulling out a win on Friday, the Tar Heels took a 2-0 series lead on Saturday, beating the Tigers, 5-4. Three home runs in the fourth inning led the way for the Tar Heels in their victory.

What happened?

After neither team was able to reach base in the opening inning, Clemson struck first in the second inning. In the top of the second, Clemson's Caden Grice scored for the Tigers while first-year Cooper Ingle was at bat after a throwing error from UNC's starting pitcher, Max Carlson.

However, UNC would take the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when it scored five runs off of three home runs. Sophomore Caleb Roberts hit the first homer, while junior Clemente Inclan followed with the second one, allowing for sophomore Danny Serretti and graduate student Brett Centracchio to score off the three-run shot. Finishing out to barrage of runs, first-year Will Stewart secured the fifth run of the inning by way of a one-run blast to give North Carolina a 5-1 lead. 

While the Tar Heels held all the momentum after the fourth inning, things took a turn at the top of the fifth. Sophomore Nik Pry went in to pitch for the Tar Heels, but with the bases loaded, he walked Clemson sophomore James Parker, allowing junior Bryce Teodosio to walk in. 

North Carolina switched pitchers again, putting first-year Nick James on the mound. The pitching change would be unsuccessful, and with the bases still loaded, James walked in yet another run. Once more, the Tar Heels switched their pitcher to put junior Joey Lancellotti on the bump and he walked in another run before getting UNC out of the inning.  

This brought the game to 5-4. The Tar Heels remained consisted throughout the new few innings with Lancellotti on the mound, with sophomore Caden O’Brien coming in to shut the door with a save.

Who stood out? 

The Tar Heels struggled with pitching in the fifth inning — but Lancellotti came in to close the door despite walking in one run. While North Carolina was held off the board over the last few frames, Lancellotti stopped the bleeding and allowed the Tar Heels to ride their lead to a win.

On the other hand, Roberts, Inclan and Stewart were standouts in the fourth inning, all displaying their power in game-altering home runs. Sophomore Justice Thompson was another impactful player at the plate, going 2-4.

When was it decided?

O’Brien came in as the last pitcher in the eighth inning to close the game and secure the win for the Tar Heels. With the game in the balance, he closed the door on Clemson for his first save of the campaign. 

Why does it matter?

This game meant Tar Heels have secured another ACC win in what has been a successful start to the tenure of head coach Scott Forbes. After today’s game, UNC is 2-0 and will be looking for the sweep on Sunday.

When do they play next?

The series with Clemson will continue on Sunday for the third and final game at 1 p.m. Next week, the Tar Heels will take on Liberty on Tuesday, March 16 at 4 p.m. in Lynchburg, Virginia.

@DTHSports |

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