After an up-and-down 2021 season that ended in a 28-27 record, the North Carolina baseball team came into its three-game opening weekend series against the Seton Hall Pirates with hopes of restoring the program's winning culture.
By the end of it, the Tar Heels were one step closer to that goal, finishing with three wins and 40 runs in total.
First-year infielder Vance Honeycutt was one of the Tar Heels’ stars on offense in the first game, blasting two home runs and picking up four RBIs, which gave second-year head coach Scott Forbes plenty to say about him.
“Vance is so talented,” Forbes said. “He’s as fast as any kid that I’ve coached, and as good of an outfielder, considering he played shortstop in high school.”
Though the Tar Heels showed out in their first game, they still had to show resilience — they found themselves in an early 2-0 deficit in the first inning of Friday's game before they were able to get rolling.
“We weren’t very good at all last year when we got down," Forbes said. "We were frontrunners, and we’ve talked about it — you can’t win championships if that’s the way you are. Matter of fact, you gotta be better when your back’s against the wall, and to see that right out of the gate was good.”
The Tar Heels didn’t have their backs against the wall very often as they won Saturday’s game in a 19-0 shutout. Eleven of the 19 runs came in a wild seventh inning, during which the Tar Heels loaded the bases early.
Sophomore catcher Tomas Frick was one of many players who stood out, as he went 2-2 with two RBIs and a double in the contest. To him, the 11-run inning signified North Carolina's offensive potential.
“That’s huge, whenever you can have the momentum shift in your favor,” Frick said. “It’s always an advantage, and it’s always gonna get everyone going."