After falling behind by 10 runs, the North Carolina baseball team (20-20, 14-15 ACC) could not complete its comeback against No. 6 Notre Dame (23-8, 20-8 ACC) and lost 13-12 in game two in South Bend.
The Fighting Irish found success at the plate early and often. The team scored once in the bottom of the first, but North Carolina tied the score on an RBI by first-year catcher Tomas Frick that drove in redshirt sophomore outfielder Angel Zarate. Notre Dame then put four more on the board in the second to take a 5-1 lead into the fourth, where the Irish scored two more runs to go up 7-1.
UNC cut into the deficit in the top of the fifth when senior outfielder Dallas Tessar knocked a double to left center to drive in first-year infielder Mac Horvath, but the Irish would add three more runs in the bottom half. In the bottom of the sixth, Notre Dame scored two more to build a 10-run advantage.
Down 12-2, UNC’s bats suddenly came alive. The Tar Heels scored three runs in the seventh and six in the eighth to cut Notre Dame’s lead to one, but the Fighting Irish added an insurance run on a UNC error in the bottom half of the inning.
North Carolina went into the top of the ninth needing to continue its offensive run. First-year catcher Max Riemer led off with a homer to right to give the Tar Heels a chance, but the visitors’ comeback bid came up short with three consecutive outs to end the game.
Who stood out?
The Tar Heels’ attempt at a comeback was led by senior outfielder Dallas Tessar and redshirt sophomore outfielder Angel Zarate. Both players went 4-5 at the plate with a home run, four RBIs and two runs scored.
Sophomore outfielder Caleb Roberts and first-year infielders Mac Horvath and Johnny Castagnozzi were also valuable, each scoring two runs.
When was it decided?
Notre Dame’s 13th and final run in the eighth ended up being the difference, as the Tar Heels could only score once in the ninth. UNC brought the tying run to the plate three consecutive times, but two groundouts and a flyout ended the threat.
Why does it matter?
After being shut out on Friday, UNC 12-run showing demonstrated that the team has offensive potential.
If the team wants to make a late-season climb in the ACC standings, it must put together a complete offensive and defensive performance.
When do they play next?
Game three in South Bend is Sunday at 1 p.m. on the ACC Network Extra.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.