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Friday August 12th

Pitching depth aids UNC baseball in 4-2 win over Appalachian State

UNC freshman infielder Danny Serretti (1) swings at a pitch during a home game at Boshamer Stadium against Appalachian State on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.
Buy Photos UNC freshman infielder Danny Serretti (1) swings at a pitch during a home game at Boshamer Stadium against Appalachian State on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

The Tar Heels’ depth at pitcher, coupled with late-game heroics from sophomore infielder Mac Horvath, fueled the Tar Heels’ 4-2 victory against in-state opponent Appalachian State.

Even without key pitchers such as junior Kyle Mott and sophomore Connor Bovair — who boast the fourth and eighth-best ERAs in the ACC, respectively — the Tar Heels relied on seven different pitchers who stepped up to hold App State to just two runs on Tuesday.

Sophomore pitchers Davis Palermo and Will Sandy both made significant contributions on the mound in the absence of Mott and Bovair. Palermo recorded three strikeouts in two innings pitched, while Sandy registered two strikeouts and a 2.16 ERA over two innings pitched. 

Senior pitcher Caden O’Brien continued his strong play as the Tar Heels’ primary closing pitcher, registering four strikeouts and allowing just one hit in just over one inning of pitching.

“Those guys are tremendous,” Horvath said. “It doesn’t even matter who comes in; I have a hundred percent in them that they’re going to get the job done, and for good reason, because every time they’ve come in they’ve done their job. We’re only going to be as good as our pitching.”

With a high number of reliable pitchers, the Tar Heels are able to evenly distribute the workload so no pitcher gets overworked during the 56-game regular season.

While the Tar Heels’ bullpen depth served them well in their win against App State, it’ll likely play a key role in their long-term success by ensuring pitchers are fresh for key conference games late in the season. 

“They’re getting their jobs done even when they don’t have their best stuff, which is what we need moving forward,” junior catcher Max Riemer said. 

Outside of pitching, Horvath played a key role. He had a quiet first seven innings, when he recorded just one putout and zero hits through three appearances at bat.

But during the eighth inning, when the baseball game was deadlocked at 2-2, Horvath showed up in a big way .

He started that inning by doubling deep out into left field and batted junior shortstop Danny Serretti in for a run that put the Tar Heels up 3-2.

Shortly after, Horvath extended UNC’s advantage to 4-2 by stealing home plate.

While Horvath's heroics came late in the game, UNC baseball head coach Scott Forbes thinks his player will only get better.

"He’s got clutch in him," Forbes said. "You haven’t seen the best of Mac Horvath, but he's a good player ... He's a guy that you just stick with."

For now, the UNC baseball team's focus lies on preparing for what's next — a three-game series again Miami.

"We’re process-oriented," Forbes said. "We’re not going to focus on Miami. We’re going to focus on us, focus on being ready."

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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