The North Carolina baseball team (17-15, 11-12) fell to No. 17 Pittsburgh (20-10, 14-9), 3-2, in the second game of its weekend series on Saturday.
This game served as the second of a doubleheader on Saturday, with Pittsburgh winning the first game, 6-2.
Unlike the first game, neither team was able to score in the first inning. The first hit was collected by the Tar Heels in the top of the second, when first baseman Brett Centracchio lined a single up the middle. UNC was unable to capitalize, however, as first-year infielder Colby Wilkerson flew out to end the top of the inning.
North Carolina got on the board first with a solo homer from junior baseman Clemente Inclan to lead off the top of the third inning. The Tar Heels extended their lead after a two-out double from sophomore shortstop Danny Serretti plated senior outfielder Dallas Tessar, who slid into home to give UNC a 2-0 lead.
Pittsburgh responded in the bottom of the third with a double by sophomore outfielder Kyle Hess, whose hit scored junior outfielder Jordan Anderson to bring the score to 2-1. Later in the inning, senior infielder David Yanni singled to center field and allowed Hess and sophomore infielder Sky Duff to score. With this, Pittsburgh took a 3-2 lead heading into the fourth inning.
The next three innings were quiet for both teams. Both pitchers started to dial in, which stifled the bats of their opponents.
Despite giving up three runs in the third, redshirt sophomore pitcher Austin Love stayed in the game for the Tar Heels and finished with 12 strikeouts in 6.1 innings pitched. Pittsburgh's starter, Matt Gilbertson, was also solid on the mound, as he racked up eight strikeouts over seven innings.
In the bottom of the seventh, Pittsburgh was in prime position to extend its lead after placing two runners inscoring position with two outs. However, Tessar made a diving catch to help the Tar Heels escape the inning trailing by only a run.
The score remained 3-2 into the top of the ninth, and UNC was down to its final three outs. First-year catcher Tomas Frick advanced to first on a throwing error by the shortstop, but two consecutive pop outs ended the Tar Heels' comeback bid.
Who stood out?
Though UNC could not get much going offensively, the highlight of the game was a home run from Inclan in the third inning. It was his fifth of the season and first since homering in four consecutive games in mid-March.
Pittsburgh was led by Yanni, whose two-out RBI single in the bottom of the third proved to be the difference in the contest.
When was it decided?
The game was decided in the third inning, in which the entirety of the game’s scoring took place. After UNC got on the board with its first two runs, Pittsburgh answered at the bottom of the third with three runs of its own. From there, neither team was able to score for the remainder of the game,
Why does it matter?
Entering the final game of the series, UNC trails the series two games to nothing. North Carolina has only scored two runs in each of the two games. To avoid a sweep, more production is needed in the batter's box.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels are slated to conclude the series against the Panthers with the finale on Sunday at 1 p.m.
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