In an effort to avoid a series sweep, the No. 18 North Carolina baseball team (20-8, 6-6 ACC) defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies (17-7, 5-5 ACC), 10-6, Sunday afternoon at Boshamer Stadium.
Virginia Tech got on base early with a lead-off single from Nick Biddison that sliced through the Diamond Heels’ infield. But, graduate pitcher Shaddon Peavyhouse responded well to the early pressure, retiring three of the next four batters to keep the Hokies off the board.
Following a scoreless first inning by North Carolina, the Hokies’ bats came alive.
After a single for Virginia Tech, Carson DeMartini’s two-run moonshot skied over the center-field wall to give the Hokies an early 2-0 lead. Two batters later, Christian Martin followed the lead of his teammate, going yard for a solo home run.
The Diamond Heels chiseled the Hokie lead in the bottom of the second inning. A sacrifice fly-out by sophomore catcher Eric Grintz and an RBI-walk for Vance Honeycutt made the score 3-2 heading into the third inning.
Another Hokie run in the third inning ballooned UNC’s deficit to two points, but the Diamond Heels did not back down. With runners on first and second base, Grintz’s laser bounced out of the outstretched glove of Virginia Tech’s right fielder, driving in two runs for North Carolina.
And, the Diamond Heels weren’t done. With base loaded, and two outs, Honeycutt’s two-RBI double trailed down the left field line and gave the Diamond Heels its first lead of the day, 6-4.
North Carolina surrendered another run to the Hokies in the top of the fifth inning, but Grintz’s hammer in the bottom half of the inning soared over the right field scoreboard and stretched the Diamond Heels’ lead back to two.
The Hokies were held scoreless in the top of the sixth inning, opening up an opportunity for UNC to increase its lead.
That opportunity proved well for those repping Carolina Blue, as sophomore Mac Horvath crushed a two-run homer over the left field netting giving the Diamond Heels its largest lead of the game. One more run was tacked on by North Carolina in the inning, bringing its lead to 10-5.
The remainder of the game was smooth sailing for UNC, as an eight-inning run for Virginia Tech was the only blemish against the Diamond Heels en route to a 10-6 victory.
Who stood out?
The come-from-behind win had in large part to do with the stellar play from Grintz. His bases-clearing double tied the game in the early stages of the game, and the Pennsylvania native notched his first career home run in the fifth inning.
Honeycutt also made his presence known, both in the field and at the plate. The first-year’s highlight-reel catch in right field prevented at least one run for the away team, and his two-RBI double granted the Diamond Heels its first lead of the day.
When was it decided?
After garnering its first lead in the third inning, a strong showing in the sixth helped guide UNC to a much needed conference win. Sophomore Hunter Stokely’s RBI-single to left field surged the lead to five, a difference the Hokies were unable to overcome.
Why does it matter?
The bounce-back win for North Carolina snaps a five game skid against ACC opponents. The win should serve as a confidence boost heading into a difficult stretch, which features three straight series against ACC foe ranked in the top-25.
When do they play next?
The Diamond Heels will travel to the Queen City to take on South Carolina in a neutral-site bout on Tuesday with first pitch coming at 7 p.m.
In an effort to avoid a series sweep, the No. 18 North Carolina baseball team (20-8, 6-6 ACC) trounced the Virginia Tech Hokies (17-7, 5-5 ACC), 10-6, Sunday afternoon at Boshamer Stadium.
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