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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC's baseball team takes the first of three games against East Carolina, winning 7-4

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Freshman pitcher Carson Starnes (44) warms up during a UNC men's baseball game against East Carolina University on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2022 at Boshamer Stadium.

The undefeated UNC baseball team (5-0) came out with full force as it continued its home winning streak, beating ECU (1-4) 7-4 in the first of three games this weekend.

What happened?

The Tar Heels began the game off with an strong start. With the first at bat of the game, centerfielder Vance Honeycutt hit a huge homer for North Carolina, propelling the team's success throughout the game. Within the first round of at bats, the Tar Heels had four hits and two of them went over the fence, thanks to designated hitter Alberto Osuna. 

With bases loaded at the end of the third inning, Osuna brought home shortstop Danny Serretti to continue UNC's success. This was followed by left fielder Reece Holbrook's double and a wild pitch, which brought home two more runs for the Diamond Heels. 

In the sixth inning the Pirates stepped up to hit a home run and bring home two runs for East Carolina. This did not discourage North Carolina as third baseman Colby Wilkerson hit a deep home run to left field in the bottom of the eighth to bring home an additional player. Regardless of the score, ECU’s home run, hits and two UNC errors caused the Pirates to score an additional run to end the game.

Who stood out? 

Infielder Mac Horvath and Osuna provided strong offense performances. Both players had a home run and two RBIs each. 

On the defensive end, head coach Scott Forbes was very proud of his pitchers for getting the job done on their end. After the game, he mentioned Gage Gillian’s ability to get his team in the dug out right after he let up a two-run home run. They need to tighten up on not letting the hit happen, but the mindset was spot on, according to Forbes.

When was it decided?

Early in the game, the Tar Heels came in hot, scroing in the first inning with a Honeycutt home run. Their consistency early on gave them a strong cushion throughout the rest of the game, but their defense was a big part in securing the W. 

Left-handed pitcher Brandon Schaeffer only allowed four hits and struck out three batters. The Heels held off ECU early on in the game, but the Pirates quietly approached. For UNC, though, the early lead that the defense and the four pitchers were able to maintain held off the batters in the ninth.

Why does it matter?

This matchup with the Pirates is a great preparation for ACC conference play. In order for the Diamond Heels to succeed this season, they must be able to be ready for anything. With a strong team of their own, the Pirates will continue to put up a fight and not make it easy for UNC. If North Carolina sweeps the Pirates, iit will be looking great going into next week.

When do they play next?

The Diamond Heels will face off in the second game of the three-game series vs the Pirates on Saturday in Chapel Hill at 2 p.m.

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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