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Tuesday August 9th

UNC baseball loses first game of the series to Virginia Tech, falling 12-1

<p>UNC freshman outfielder Vance Honeycutt steps up to bat in a game against Virginia Tech on Friday, April 1, 2022. UNC lost 12-1.</p>
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UNC freshman outfielder Vance Honeycutt steps up to bat in a game against Virginia Tech on Friday, April 1, 2022. UNC lost 12-1.

In the first game of the weekend series, the No. 18 North Carolina baseball team (19-7, 5-5 ACC) fell to the Virginia Tech Hokies (16-6, 4-4 ACC), 12-1, Friday night at Boshamer Stadium. 

What happened?

Sophomore pitcher Connor Bovair kicked off his night with a three-pitch strikeout. But, back-to-back Hokie home runs including a left-field bomb that ricocheted off the scoreboard gave Virginia Tech the early lead. 

However, the Hokies weren’t finished as Eduardo Malinowski’s double brought home the third Virginia Tech run of the first inning. 

Heading into the bottom of the second inning, the Diamond Heels trailed, 3-0. 

Sophomore catcher Tomas Frick’s one-out double and a drawn walk by Mac Horvath put two Tar Heels on base for slugger Alberto Osuna. The sophomore designated hitter could not answer the call, as his fly-out to shallow right field ended the inning. 

Despite holding the Hokies scoreless for a second consecutive inning, the Diamond Heels had no success chipping into the early deficit. 

Bovair’s night would come to an end in the top of the fourth, as another pair of back-to-back bombs extended the Virginia Tech lead to 6-0. The pair of blasts came via the same duo who cracked open the Hokies scoring in the first inning: Gavin Cross and Tanner Schobel. 

As the Diamond Heels’ offense remained cold, the Hokie bats continued to click. 

In the ensuing inning, Virginia Tech tacked on another run when Nick Holesa’s single skipped down the center gap to bring home a teammate. An additional point was earned by the Hokies in the top of the sixth, increasing the hole to eight for North Carolina. 

After another scoreless inning for UNC, junior pitcher Nik Pry galvanized the Boshamer crowd. An efficient 1-2-3 inning for Pry came after three straight strikeouts for Virginia Tech hitters.

In dire need of some runs, the Diamond Heels turned to first-year standout Vance Honeycutt. His liner to left field brought home North Carolina’s first run of the night with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. That proved to be the only run mustered up by UNC, as Zarate was thrown out stealing to end the inning. 

The Hokies came storming back in the eight inning, as Virginia Tech notched its fifth and sixth home runs of the game and scored four more runs. From this point, UNC had no answer, and were defeated 12-1.

Who stood out? 

On a night where positives were at a minimum, Zarate’s consistency and leadership at the plate was on full display for the Diamond Heels. The left fielder from Reidsville was responsible for two of the nine North Carolina hits, extending his on base streak to 49 games. 

Hokie sluggers Cross and Schobel flexed their muscles in the early stages of the game, combining for four home runs and driving in five runs. Schobel’s two solo dingers were hit to almost identical spots, taking homage in the upper half of the left field netting. 

When was it decided?

Behind the powerful duo of Cross and Schobel, Virginia Tech jumped out to a six-run lead in the first four innings and never looked back. After the Tar Heels clawed to within seven, Carson DeMartini went yard for the Hokies in the next inning, putting the nail in the coffin for the blowout win for Virginia Tech.

Why does it matter?

The blowout loss marks the first home defeat of the season for the Diamond Heels and drops them into a tie for third in the ACC Coastal division. After a blistering 18-3 start, North Carolina has now dropped four of its last five games, including four straight against ACC foe. 

When do they play next?

The Diamond Heels continue their three-game series against Virginia Tech on Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m.

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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