Fresh off of being swept by Miami last weekend, the No.18 North Carolina baseball team got things rolling early Tuesday in its midweek 6-4 win against UNCW on a cold Chapel Hill night.
The Diamond Heels started off hot, shutting down the Seahawk batters 1-2-3 in the top of the first.
In the bottom of the inning, the bats got rolling, with junior shortstop Danny Serretti hitting a three-run blast that gave North Carolina an early lead.
After going 0-9 in games two and three against the Hurricanes and coming up short of a homer in game one Friday night, Serretti relaxed at the box again Tuesday, going 3-4 to lead the charge.
"I wasn’t trying to do too much – I feel like I was a little bit over the weekend – so I was just trying to get back to my approach and take it pitch by pitch," Serretti said. "He left one up and I happened to barrel it and I’m just happy it actually got out this time.”
After Serretti’s homer, the Tar Heels quickly tacked on another run in the bottom of the second, but UNCW responded loudly in the third, scoring four runs off of junior starter Brandon Schaeffer to tie the score at 4-4.
Both pitching staffs kept the opposing offenses quiet through the sixth after the early outbursts, but in the bottom of the seventh, North Carolina took the lead once again.
With a runner on first, sophomore designated hitter Alberto Osuna stepped to the plate and sent a 437-foot bomb over the batter’s eye to give the Tar Heels a late 6-4 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“It was kind of a blackout moment for me,” Osuna said. “I hit it, and then I saw it and I knew it went pretty far, but then honestly I couldn't see it. I put my head down and I didn’t hear it hit the batter’s eye so that’s when I realized I hit it really far.”
Prior to Osuna’s homer, sophomore Davis Palermo had been mowing through the Seahawk batters, striking out five in 3.1 innings of work after relieving Schaeffer in the third. Graduate Shaddon Peavyhouse and junior Kyle Mott kept up the stellar pitching, shutting out the UNCW offense for the remainder of the game.
Head coach Scott Forbes’ bullpen with Palermo leading the way ended up making the difference, combining for eight strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work as a group and leaving UNCW looking lost late.
“I thought the story of the game for us was Davis,” Forbes said. “Davis Palermo to go out there and just shut them down completely and not give up any runs. We scored the first two, they scored four, and then they didn’t score again because our bullpen was outstanding."
After last weekend’s sweep, the Tar Heels bounced back by using the long ball and their bullpen to guide them to their 6-4 victory against the Seahawks.
And heading into yet another conference series against Virginia Tech this coming weekend, North Carolina found that confidence, coming up with the big hits when they were needed most and silencing the UNCW bats late.
"Davis shut them down, Forbes said. "And then Peavy came in and threw a clean inning and Kyle got back out there and did what he’s been doing all year.”
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.