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Tuesday August 9th

Offensive explosion leads UNC baseball over No. 17 Pitt in series finale

UNC sophomore outfielder Caleb Roberts celebrates his second of two home runs with teammates Justice Thompson (20), Angel Zarate (4) and Danny Seretti (1) during Carolina's 8-1 season-opening victory over James Madison at Boshamer Stadium, Feb. 19, 2021.
Buy Photos UNC sophomore outfielder Caleb Roberts celebrates his second of two home runs with teammates Justice Thompson (20), Angel Zarate (4) and Danny Seretti (1) during Carolina's 8-1 season-opening victory over James Madison at Boshamer Stadium, Feb. 19, 2021.

The North Carolina baseball team (18-15, 12-12) defeated No. 17 Pittsburgh (20-11, 14-10) in the finale of a three-game series on Sunday to avoid the sweep, winning 10-9.

What happened?

On their first at-bat, the Tar Heels knocked a home run as sophomore outfielder Caleb Roberts sent one out to the right center. The team quickly added to its total with a double from senior outfielder Dallas Tessar, scoring sophomore shortstop Danny Serretti and graduate first baseman Brett Centracchio.

With Tessar on third base, junior first baseman Clemente Inclan hit a home run to give the Tar Heels a 5-0 lead heading into the bottom of the first inning.

Despite the hole, Pittsburgh responded quickly. The Panthers got on the board in the bottom of the first inning, with a run by sophomore infielder Sky Duff off an RBI by sophomore outfielder Kyle Hess. Soon after, with two on base, junior infielder Bryce Hulett hit a home run to bring the score to 5-4.

The next score did not occur until the bottom of the fifth, when Pittsburgh tied the game at 5-5 with Duff sliding into home plate after a fly out by junior outfielder Ron Washington Jr. 

In the top of the sixth, Serretti scored his second run of the game off a sacrifice fly by first-year infielder Colby Wilkerson. North Carolina regained the advantage, leading 6-5. The Panthers sought to tie the game up at the end of the sixth, but Tessar launched the ball to stop sophomore infielder Brock Franks from sliding into home plate.

With the first at-bat in the seventh, Roberts hit his second home run of the game to put the Tar Heels up by two. Immediately after, UNC’s leader in hits and runs, sophomore outfielder Justice Thompson, hit a home run of his own. Later in the inning, with the bases loaded, Wilkerson singled to left field and scored both Serretti and first-year center Tomas Frick to go up 10-5.

At the bottom of the inning, Hess hit a two-run homer to score himself and senior outfielder Nico Papa, cutting the UNC lead to three. Washington Jr. later scored off of a single by Hulett to make the score 10-8 going into the eighth.

After going scoreless in the top of the ninth, North Carolina left the door open slightly for the Panthers to win or send the game into extra innings. Franks hit a double to score redshirt senior infielder David Yanni, bringing the score to 10-9. With two outs remaining, UNC clinched the win by grounding out senior catcher Ramon Padilla.

Who stood out? 

Serretti played well for the Tar Heels, as he was integral in the team’s offensive success. He finished with three runs to go along with three hits in five plate appearances. Wilkerson aided UNC as well, recording three RBIs in the victory.

When was it decided?

The game was decided on the final pitch, with the score still tight at 10-9. After being down by two, Pittsburgh was able to score once in the ninth inning before Padilla went to bat. The Panthers had one last opportunity to narrow the gap or win the game, but UNC was able to clinch the game with a save from sophomore pitcher Nik Pry.

Why does it matter?

With the victory on Sunday, the Tar Heels avoided the sweep against Pittsburgh and brought their conference record to 12-12. Currently, UNC sits at fifth place in the Coastal Division in the ACC standings.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels head back to Boshamer Stadium on Tuesday, as they are scheduled to play Coastal Carolina at 6 p.m.

@jerem11ah

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com


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