In blowout fashion, the North Carolina baseball team (26-18, 9-14 ACC) fell to the N.C. State Wolfpack (30-14, 12-10 ACC), 9-2, early Sunday afternoon.
North Carolina got on the board early thanks to the base running of Mac Horvath. The sophomore third baseman was driven home by junior Danny Serretti’s infield chopper which opened the score up, 1-0.
Yet the lead was short-lived, as NCSU first-year Tommy White showed why he’s one of the top sluggers in the country in the bottom half of the first inning. White cranked his 20th home run of the season, and deadlocked the game at one.
White’s homer sparked an offensive outburst by the Wolfpack that carried into the succeeding innings.
N.C. State took its first lead of the game in the third inning, thanks to a wild pitch by junior pitcher Brandon Schaeffer. Shortly after, the Wolfpack tacked on two more runs behind a right field double by sophomore LuJames Groover III.
As for UNC, its bats continued to struggle in the next inning. Sophomore pitcher Matt Willadsen struck out the side, extending North Carolina’s scoring drought to four innings.
And as the Tar Heels’ woes continued, N.C. State increased its lead.
In the sixth inning, White tallied his third hit of the day, beaming a single to shallow left field. One batter later, junior Josh Hood sailed a two-run shot over the left field wall and increased the Wolfpack’s lead to five.
In the next inning, a similar script played out for North Carolina. First-year Jacob Cozart led the way in a three-run inning as he sent a skying, two-run blast into the trees behind right field. When it was all said and done, N.C. State held a 9-1 lead heading into the game’s final innings.
North Carolina finally cut into the Wolfpack’s lead in the eighth inning.
Serretti drove in a run after he sliced a ball to the left-field corner, inching the Tar Heels within seven runs. This proved to be the final push from UNC, as N.C. State secured the victory, 9-2.
Who stood out?
In a game that featured little offensive firepower from UNC, Serretti stood as the lone bright spot for the Tar Heels. Serretti’s three hits – including two RBI’s – accounted for over half of North Carolina’s hits.
As for the Wolfpack, White led the charge for a N.C. State offense that blitzed UNC with 17 hits. A two-RBI day for White was highlighted by his solo home run in the first inning.
When was it decided?
The Tar Heels jumped out to a strong start, scoring the game’s first run. But N.C. State answered the early deficit with eight unanswered runs.
The game appeared to be within reach for the better half of the game, until Hood piloted a scoring burst in the sixth inning. In back-to-back innings, the Wolfpack scored a pair of two-run homers to put the game out of reach.
Why does it matter?
After securing a win in the first game of the series on Saturday, North Carolina had an opportunity to clinch its first series win in nearly two months. And, a strong first inning appeared to foreshadow another favorable outcome for the visiting Tar Heels.
However, ice-cold hitting from UNC and three dingers by N.C. State helped the Wolfpack break open the game. With the defeat, Game 3 turns into a winner-take-all contest for the weekend series.
When do they play next?
UNC plays its final game of the series against N.C. State later Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 2:45 p.m.