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Monday June 27th

UNC baseball completes its sweep against Pittsburgh, winning 9-2 on Sunday

Redshirt junior outfielder Angel Zarate (40) hits the ball at the game against Pittsburgh on March 13, 2022 at Boshamer Stadium.
Buy Photos Redshirt junior outfielder Angel Zarate (40) hits the ball at the game against Pittsburgh on March 13, 2022 at Boshamer Stadium.

On a cold Sunday afternoon in Chapel Hill, the No.15 North Carolina baseball team (14-2, 3-0 ACC) remained hot, sweeping Pittsburgh (8-7, 0-3 ACC) and winning the final game of their first conference series of the season, 9-2.  

What happened?

After sophomore starter Connor Bovair guided the Tar Heels out of the top of the first inning unscathed, North Carolina got on the board in the bottom half of the inning, leaving the bases loaded but taking a 1-0 lead off an RBI single from senior Angel Zarate. 

The score remained steady through the fourth but in the top of the fifth the Pittsburgh bats woke up, taking a 2-1 lead off a two-RBI home run to right field from junior third baseman Sky Duff. 

After the early score, Pittsburgh’s junior starter Billy Corcoran kept the Tar Heel bats silent through the bottom of the sixth until they finally got things going again, tying the score at two off of sophomore Johnny Castagnozzi’s fourth homer of the season that just snuck over the left field wall. 

In the bottom of the seventh, North Carolina retook the lead off of an opposite-field two-RBI double by sophomore catcher Tomas Frick that made the score 4-2, Tar Heels. 

North Carolina blew things open in the eighth, scoring five more runs to extend the lead to seven and Shawn Rapp closed it out, throwing 1.1 innings and striking out four to guide the Tar Heels to a 9-2 victory. 

Who stood out? 

Zarate led the way for North Carolina at the plate, keeping his bat hot and going 3-4 with three RBIs and scoring twice. Frick also drove in three runs for the Tar Heels, batting 2-4 with a double and a walk. 

Bovair got things going for North Carolina on the mound, tossing five innings of two-run ball and striking out four Panther batters along the way. Rapp and junior Kyle Mott finished out the last four innings for the Tar Heels, combing for eight strikeouts and just two walks. 

When was it decided?

North Carolina was held silent through the early innings after scoring in the first but after tying things back up at two in the sixth, the Tar Heels were finally able to find some separation in the seventh after Frick’s double gave them a 4-2 lead. After that, North Carolina blew things open in the eighth, scoring five runs to give the team an insurmountable seven-run advantage heading into the ninth. 

Why does it matter?

In their first series of the 2022 ACC schedule, the Tar Heels were able to keep up their hot start and move to 3-0 in the conference after dropping their mid-week contest against Liberty. Although it is still early in the season, North Carolina showed it is a force to be reckoned with after seeing thirteen non-conference opponents to start the year as they build confidence heading into next weekend’s matchup against Duke. 

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will be back in action on Tuesday, Mar. 15 in Chapel Hill as they take on VMI in their fourteenth non-conference matchup of the season. First pitch between North Carolina and the Keydets is scheduled for 4 p.m.

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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