No. 13 UNC baseball's final game against the University of Miami Hurricanes was a 14-inning, nearly-tied-up match following two losses to the Hurricanes in the first two games of the series. Coming off of 3-7 and 5-8 losses against the Hurricanes, UNC held their ground until the final run of the 14th-inning when the score went 3-2 in favor of Miami.
While the Tar Heels went into the matchup against unranked Miami ranked no. 13, the team proved to be a formidable opponent. With a 0-3 record on the series, the loss in Coral Gables was well held-off by the Tar Heels, who maintained a 2-2 tie for over 7 innings.
After going through five different pitchers and breaking a few records in the process, the Tar Heels not only played their longest game of the season but also one of their best in the last game of this series, despite finishing on the wrong side of the scoreboard.
Who stood out?
The afternoon on Mark Light Field in Coral Gables started off promising when sophomore pitcher Max Carlson struck out all three players at the bottom of the first, pitching 12 balls with no walks. Junior Angel Zarate and first-year starter Vance Honeycutt both started off the first inning with impressive performances, with Zarate drawing a one-out walk in the first inning and hitting a two-out single in the third inning.
Sophomore Hunter Stokely hit to center to earn the Tar Heels’ second run at the top of the fourth, which would be the last one of the night.
Carlson walked off the pitching mound with 11 strikeouts and only one walk by the bottom of the sixth inning, handing over the mound to senior pitcher Caden O’Brien to start off the 7th inning. O’Brien was able to hold Miami to only one game-tying run in three innings.
When was it decided?
With a tied up game starting the 7th inning and no runs being made by either team for over 20 minutes, the long 14-inning match up seemed to be a doomed affair. Miami’s Renzo Gonzales walked off the tie-breaking run at the bottom of the 14th inning, solidifying Miami’s three-game sweep of the Tar Heels.
Why does it matter?
With impressive showings by Carlson and Zarate in the first few innings, the game had a chance to go differently than Friday and Saturday's contests, a needed respite for the team after consecutive losses. The Tar Heels were primed to take a game three victory if they’d been able to hold off Gonzales in the 14th.
The Diamond Heels now have to regroup and rearm before a midweek matchup against UNC Wilmington and a three-game series against Virginia Tech, who has won its last four games.
When do they play next?
The team will return to Chapel Hill to play UNCW in a single game on March 29, and then head into another three-game series against Virginia Tech starting on April 1.
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