The No. 14 UNC baseball team (10-5, 6-3 ACC) fell just short of revenge against Liberty (11-5, 3-0 ASUN) on Tuesday evening with a final score of 6-4, after a previous loss to the Flames on March 9.
Liberty came out strong in the first few innings, as outfielder Gray Betts scored for the Flames, while the Tar Heels were unable to get on base in the first inning. Liberty advanced its lead in the second inning, scoring three times, while UNC went three up, three down.
But the Tar Heels battled back in the third and fourth innings, with a run from first-year first baseman Tyler Causey opening the Diamond Heels' account in the third. The fourth inning saw a solo home-run from sophomore shortstop Danny Serretti, followed by a double from Causey that drove in first-year catcher Tomas Frick.
Despite UNC’s hot streak in those two innings, the team went cold after, going scoreless in the next three innings and only scoring once in the eighth, despite sophomore transfer outfielder Justice Thompson and redshirt sophomore outfielder Angel Zarate’s base hits. Liberty was able to score four more times, making the final score 8-4 in favor of the Flames.
Who stood out?
Thompson has been a rapidly emerging star for the Diamond Heels as a junior college transfer this season. Even with a loss tonight, the sophomore was a key player for UNC, saving a three-run home run in the first inning with a leap over the center field wall.
First-years Causey and Frick both stood out for the Tar Heels, each with two hits and a combined three runs.
When was it decided?
UNC’s loss became apparent at the end of the eighth inning. Liberty was able to extend its lead to four with a two-run base hit, putting the Flames up 8-4. The Tar Heels had the ability to get on base, but struggled to complete a trip around the bases from the fifth inning on, and apparent defeat for the Tar Heels seemed to set in. UNC was unable to score at the top of the ninth, and the loss was officially decided.
Why does it matter?
Since the last time UNC faced Liberty and lost, UNC swept Clemson in a three-game series at home, giving the Diamond Heels confidence and starting a new win streak. With Tuesday’s loss, the momentum for the Tar Heels shifted.
Out of the team's ten wins, nine of them have come at home in Boshamer Stadium. With a weekend road trip to Boston College on the horizon, the Tar Heels need confidence more than ever if they hope to make it through the long season.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels’ next matchup is a three-game series at Boston College, with the first game scheduled for Friday Mar. 19 at 4 p.m.
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