After an 8-4 loss to Liberty on Tuesday, the No. 14 North Carolina baseball team enters its series against Boston College on Friday with a 10-5 record, including 6-3 in ACC play.
The three-game series marks the fifth for the Tar Heels this season.
The last series North Carolina and Boston College played against each other was in April 2019, with the Tar Heels winning in a sweep. North Carolina also defeated the Eagles in the ACC Tournament in May of that year.
After playing the Flames in Lynchburg, Virginia, UNC brings its road trip to Brighton, Massachusetts, for this conference matchup. North Carolina has lost three of its four road matchups this season, compared to a 9-2 home record.
For the Diamond Heels, their last series in the conference was a sweep against Clemson in Chapel Hill, the first in ACC play under new head coach Scott Forbes. The three pitchers earning wins for UNC were redshirt sophomore Austin Love, junior Joey Lancellotti and redshirt first-year Max Alba. The three pitchers combined to throw 24 of the 30 total strikeouts during the weekend.
North Carolina scored 18 total runs during the series, including a series-high eight in the first game. Junior third baseman Clemente Inclan led UNC with five runs over the three games.
The Diamond Heels did not give up more than four runs during any game in the series, which bodes well for them and tells the story of their season. In games that North Carolina allowed more than four runs, the team holds a 1-4 record.
UNC possesses few problems offensively, scoring four or more runs in each of its last eight games. Though the runs alone do not directly translate to victories, limiting the opponents’ scoring serves as the key attribute to the team’s success.
Thus far, North Carolina is led by sophomore transfer outfielder Justice Thompson, who leads the team with 23 hits and 14 runs in 15 games. Thompson also has eight RBIs and four home runs this season, with a batting average of .397. In the pitching game, redshirt sophomore Austin Love leads UNC with 29 strikeouts in 25 innings pitched, and he holds a 3-0 record.
Boston College enters the series with a conference record of just 2-4, with three games against Wake Forest being canceled.
In their most recent series, the Eagles were swept by Louisville as the visiting team, even going scoreless during one of the games. But the lone game in which the Eagles failed to score a run serves as an anomaly, as it was their only scoreless outing of the season so far. They've also scored eight or more runs eight times in 15 games this season.
For the Eagles, junior outfielder Sal Frelick leads the team with 26 hits and 18 runs on the season to go along with 15 RBIs and four home runs. On the other end, junior pitcher Emmet Sheehan has thrown a team-leading 26 strikeouts with a 2-2 record.
With Boston College’s scoring advantage and North Carolina’s ability to stop runs, the scoring potential in this conference matchup is unpredictable. Both teams must look to run up the score, as keeping up with the opposing offense will determine the outcome of the series.
While scoring the most runs is always the goal, matching the opposing offense inning-by-inning should be the Tar Heels’ main objective, as giving up runs in excess has led to their downfall thus far in the season.