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Friday August 12th

Analysis: Three first-years that can step into big roles for UNC baseball

UNC baseball's Head Coach Scott Forbes pays a mound visit during the game against Duke on Saturday Apr. 10 2021 at Boshamer stadium. UNC lost 2-4.
Buy Photos UNC baseball's Head Coach Scott Forbes pays a mound visit during the game against Duke on Saturday Apr. 10 2021 at Boshamer stadium. UNC lost 2-4.

It is never easy to follow in the footsteps of a legend.

Yet that was what lay before Scott Forbes when he accepted the promotion to be the head coach of the North Carolina baseball team last year. 

Former head coach Mike Fox left behind a legacy of stellar teams, deep College World Series runs and the most wins of any UNC baseball coach, and Forbes has been tasked with continuing that legacy. 

Forbes hit the recruiting trail hard and the results can be seen on the overall age of the team. The team has gone from having a fairly even split of experienced leadership and young talent in Forbes’ first year to only having 13 upperclassmen on a 43 player roster this year. 

Following an up-and-down 28-27 campaign, the team will look to the underclassmen, particularly the first-years, to make a big difference on the team’s future prospects. Here’s a preview of some of that young, exciting talent.

Vance Honeycutt

The No. 5 shortstop in the state of North Carolina, Honeycutt was a four-year letterman in high school, and led Salisbury High School to a state title his senior year. 

The 2021 Rowan County High School Baseball Player of the Year, Honeycutt has plenty of athletic ability for his position, and with a solid arm, has the strength to make all the throws as needed. As a two-sport athlete, Honeycutt was also the quarterback of his school’s football team, and could split time at shortstop with junior Danny Serretti this spring. 

The 6-foot-3 Honeycutt still has room to improve his game, but his abilities caught the eye of MLB scouts and was drafted in the 20th round by the San Francisco Giants over the summer. Whether Honeycutt sits behind Serretti, starts immediately or switches positions, he has the ability to play a serious role in the future of this team and is certainly one to watch this season.

Alden Segui

A native of Tampa, Fla., Segui was only a two-year letterman at his high school, but managed to impress in that period. The first-year pitcher was named to the Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Game as a senior and participated in the Perfect Game National Showcase. 

Although Segui is the highest-ranked player in UNC’s 2021 class of commits, he'll have to fight to shine amidst the pack of right-handed pitchers on the team. Even if he does not start many games this season, Segui has the ability to add consistent depth to the position and is someone that could be a critical piece of UNC’s rebuilding program.

Owen Flynn

Flynn is one of the other first-years that will be fighting Segui to earn innings on the mound and at 6-foot-4 and 187 pounds, has the size and ability to compete at the position. 

Named a top-50 player in the class of 2021 by Max Preps, Flynn has natural talent in abundance and could very well work his way into the rotation in the near future. Flynn was also listed on an All-Region second team in Florida where he thrived for three years in high school before playing at TNXL Academy in his senior year. Flynn will be another to watch for this season to give the team valuable production.

As the Tar Heels look to the season ahead and potentially bounce back to their previous form, much will depend on the talent of the recent recruits by Forbes, and these three players may be chief among those.  

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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