After losing five out of its last six games — including three games by only one run — the North Carolina baseball team will look to get back on track against Campbell on Tuesday.
Over the course of the team's recent skid, the Tar Heels' main issue has been inconsistent pitching. In its recent series against Georgia Tech, North Carolina’s pitchers gave up a total of 31 runs. The third and final game of the series saw the Tar Heels surrender not one, but two grand slams in the second and ninth innings that sealed the win for the Yellow Jackets.
UNC has shown its talent on the mound earlier in the season, but the past few games indicate that Tar Heel pitchers must get back to early-season form if they want to get back into the win column.
One positive of the team's recent play has been their batting.
Over the course of the Georgia Tech series, the Tar Heels scored a combined 30 runs. Redshirt junior outfielder Angel Zarate stood out in the first game of the series, picking up two RBIs and scoring three runs.
Sophomore infielder Mac Horvath was also impressive at the plate, collecting six hits and tallying four RBIs over the weekend.
Despite the hot hitting for the Tar Heels, they must now face a fiery Campbell team that has been nearly unstoppable in recent weeks.
The Fighting Camels come into Tuesday’s matchup against the Tar Heels riding a 12-game winning streak. Campbell's batting has hummed continuously over the course of the 12-game heater. They notched double-digit runs in nine of these games, one of which was a 36-4 beatdown over Presbyterian in late March.
Campbell has been led offensively by Zach Neto and Drake Pierson, who have both put up impressive numbers at the plate. Neto paces the team with a .361 batting average and 1.158 OPS, while Pierson narrowly follows him with respective marks of .347 and 1.123.
It has been a tale of two teams for the Fighting Camels this season, considering that they began by losing six of their first seven games.
Despite a rough start, Campbell has quickly become one of the hottest teams in college baseball. If the Tar Heels are going to snap their winning streak, they are going to need all the help they can get from the mound.
Tuesday’s matchup could very well end up being a high-scoring affair given how hot the batting has been for both teams over the recent weeks, but North Carolina will need answers from their pitching if they hope to build any kind of lead over the Fighting Camels.
Junior pitcher Nik Pry showed some promise for the Tar Heels in their recent 10-5 win over Georgia Tech. In three innings of play, Pry racked up five strikeouts and only gave up two hits and one earned run in relief of fellow junior pitcher Brandon Schaeffer.
Pry could certainly get another opportunity on the mound this Tuesday, but whoever is on the mound will be challenged with the daunting task of keeping the Fighting Camels off the basepaths.
Sitting at 22-14 with just a little over a month left in the regular season, each game becomes more and more important for the Tar Heels.
Playing in front of a home crowd in Boshamer Stadium — where the team has won 19 of its 24 games so far — should give UNC an edge, but Campbell's stellar play as of late could help the Fighting Camels steal a game from the home team.
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