The North Carolina baseball team (16-13, 10-10 ACC) beat Duke (13-14, 6-11 ACC) by a score of 11-5 on Sunday afternoon to tie up the series heading into game three on Monday.
Once again, Duke scored the first run of the game. Graduate player Peter Matt hit a ground ball single to right field to lead off the second inning, and reached home on an RBI double from junior Ethan Murray. Murray advanced to third on a flyout to right field and was brought in by a single to left field from sophomore Chad Knight to put the Blue Devils up 2-0.
UNC put its first run on the board in the third inning after sophomore Will Schroeder smacked a double to right-center, then was brought in by a line drive single from sophomore Caleb Roberts. Another run was brought in after Duke pitcher Jack Carey made a bad throw to first base, which plated Roberts to tie the score at two runs apiece.
The Tar Heels avoided a near-disaster in the fourth, when two consecutive singles and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for the Blue Devils with two outs. A ground ball single from Duke senior Joey Loperfido to right field brought in one run, but a perfect throw to the plate by Roberts caught Knight at home, ending the inning before more damage could be done.
The fifth inning saw both teams’ offenses come alive. In the top of the inning, Duke increased its lead to three runs after a blooper to right field from Murray brought in two more runs. The Tar Heels struck right back though, tying the game 5-5 with an RBI groundout from first-year Tomas Frick and a two-run homer from graduate player Brett Centracchio that was belted over the left-center field wall.
With the game still tied in the bottom of the eighth, UNC soon pulled away. Roberts ripped an RBI double and was immediately driven in on a two-run homer by Serretti that gave the Tar Heels an 8-5 lead. Later in the inning, first-year Colby Wilkerson belted an RBI double and later scored on a Duke fielding error to widen the score to 11-5, a lead UNC would not relinquish.
Who stood out?
Sophomore Danny Serretti shined for the Tar Heels offensively, with three extra base hits in four at-bats. He scored twice and accounted for two RBIs, with his eighth inning home run being instrumental in the Tar Heels’ late-game rally.
For the Blue Devils, Murray went 2-4 at the plate and collected three RBIs, the most of any player on either team.
When was it decided?
Heading into the bottom of the eighth, both teams had an opportunity to emerge victorious, but after UNC’s six-run explosion, the Tar Heels were in the driver’s seat and eventually put the game away.
Sophomore pitcher Nik Pry secured the victory by striking out Erikson Nichols for the final out.
Why does it matter?
The Tar Heels are looking for their first series win since taking two out of three games against Boston College on March 21. They showed grit in the back and forth game, and unlike Saturday’s game, the offense stepped up when it was needed most.
UNC was once again missing key offensive pieces on Sunday. Outfielders Angel Zarate and Justice Thompson were both out of the lineup, which made the team’s offensive performance all the more impressive.
When do they play next?
The series finale will be played at 6 p.m. on Monday at Boshamer Stadium.
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