The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

UNC baseball gets the job done, defeats UNC-Wilmington 14-9 in final home game

20210518_McGinnis_baseballvsuncw-6.jpg
UNC sophomore right handed pitcher Nik Pry (36) throws the ball at the game against UNCW on Tuesday May 18, 2021 at Boshamer stadium. The Tar Heels won 14-9.

The North Carolina baseball team’s midweek win over UNC-Wilmington wasn’t pretty.

Unlike the sweep of Louisville over the weekend, Tuesday night’s victory wasn’t anchored by quality pitching and a taut defense — the Tar Heels gave up nine runs and committed three errors out in the field.

At times, the game was downright ugly. Runs were scored on walks, on throwing errors and wild pitches. But as UNC head coach Scott Forbes will tell you, none of that mattered.

“All that matters is that we won," Forbes said. "I don’t care what it looked like. That’s where we are, that’s the point of the season we are (in), you can rip up the box score. We can talk about this, talk about that, but at the end of the day we have to play it like it's a postseason game and our guys did and they got the win.”

Playing like it’s a postseason game has been the Tar Heels’ M.O. since the start of their six-game homestand at Boshamer Stadium. After digging themselves out of a losing record and winning five of their last six, the team seems to have new life late into the season.

“It’s been nothing but positive vibes I guess, for lack of a better phrase,” redshirt-sophomore Angel Zarate said.

Zarate scored the first run of the game after being brought in by a sacrifice fly from sophomore Justice Thompson. The pair of outfielders flaunt their chemistry not just in the field, but also at the plate — the duo holds the one and two slots in the batting order.

“I remember one occasion, it was a big situation, I struck out,” Zarate said. “Walking back to the dugout, J.T. just points at me, he’s like ‘I got you man.’ That’s how it's been this whole weekend. If I don’t get the job done, I know the next guy is going to get it done.”

The game seemed like it was blown open early, as the Tar Heels rode an eight-run second inning to a 9-0 lead. The bottom of the frame started with a two-run home run from sophomore Danny Serretti, more runs came from a bases-loaded walk and two wild pitches, then the inning was capped by another home run, this time a three-run bomb from first-year Mac Horvath.

But the Tar Heels know well that no lead is safe, and the Seahawks were right back in it after they cut the lead to two runs at the top of the eighth, making the score 11-9. UNC, refusing to limp to the finish, answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the frame.

Thompson had another sacrifice fly, sophomore Caleb Roberts had an RBI single, and Horvath brought in UNC’s fourteenth run with his third hit of the game, a career high. Don’t ask him to brag about it though.

“At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter how many hits I get, ‘cause if the team loses then it's kind of pointless,” Horvath said. “It’s just good that we got to finish off the home stretch here with four wins in a row and feel good going into Georgia Tech.”

Winning the weekend series in Atlanta won’t be easy for the re-energized Tar Heels though. The Yellow Jackets are atop the ACC Coastal standings, while UNC is just 5-12 in away games so far this season.

“It’s a lot easier to get on a winning streak at home than it is away,” Forbes said. “You have to learn how to win those games away.”

With just three games ahead of them, the Tar Heels will have no choice but to show what they’ve learned over the course of their successful home stint.

At Boshamer Stadium or not, the message remains the same for UNC: just get the win.

@LucasThomae

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com


Lucas Thomae

Lucas Thomae is the 2023-24 sports managing editor at The Daily Tar Heel. He has previously served as an assistant sports editor and summer editor. Lucas is a senior pursuing a major in journalism and media with a minor in data science.