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Thursday February 2nd

UNC baseball wraps up dominant weekend with sweep over Seton Hall

<p>Sophomore catcher Thomas Frick (52) lines himself up at bat in the game against Seton Hall on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. UNC Baseball defeated Seton Hall 19-0.</p>
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Sophomore catcher Thomas Frick (52) lines himself up at bat in the game against Seton Hall on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. UNC Baseball defeated Seton Hall 19-0.

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."

Behind the glamorous offensive performance from the Tar Heels lies a deep trust in the man on the mound. In the fourth and seventh innings, when the Pirates had a baserunner on third base, the Tar Heels were able to get the third out.

“It’s just trusting the pitcher,” junior shortstop Danny Serretti said. “We know how much work they put in, we’ve seen their stuff, obviously, all fall and all spring, so we know how good they are.”

The Tar Heels went into the third and final game looking to earn a sweep — and they did just that with a 7-3 win. 

This game was decidedly closer than the previous two games, but the Tar Heels knew the challenge that was ahead of them.

After falling behind 1-0 in the second inning, UNC scored three runs in each of the next two innings to pull away.

With a dominant sweep of the Pirates, the Tar Heels have opened their season with an abundance of confidence. To climb back to the top of the ACC, they will need to continue to showcase the same qualities that made them successful this weekend.

“I like the toughness of our team and their togetherness,” Forbes said. “They’re all pulling in the same direction. That’s been pretty clear since the fall.”

@dthsports

sports@dailytarheel.com

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