The Tar Heels clinched a series win on Saturday thanks to a blowout fifth inning that pushed them to a 12-3 victory against Wake Forest.
After the original 2 p.m. game was rescheduled for 5:30 p.m., the Diamond Heels started off their evening by holding the Demon Deacons without a run in the first inning.
After an uneventful second inning and top of the third inning, where North Carolina pitcher Brandon Schaeffer allowed no runs, sophomore Mac Horvath scored the first run of the night for the Tar Heels in the bottom of the third with a deep homer to right center to bring UNC to a 1-0 lead. After this, junior shortstop Danny Serretti and first-year center fielder Vance Honeycutt both walked, and a multitude of wild pitches and passed balls eventually brought Serretti home to earn a second run for UNC.
Wake Forest responded with a two-run homer in the fourth inning behind the bat of redshirt sophomore Pierce Bennett.
In the fifth inning, which was nearly 45 minutes long, Wake Forest went through five different pitchers and allowed the Tar Heels 10 runs behind seven hits. This brought UNC up to 12 runs on the game, for a final score of 12-3.
Who stood out?
First-year standout Honeycutt’s fielding ability was on full display in Saturday’s matchup, as he recorded three putouts in center field, and showed agility in the outfield that was lacking at times in Wake Forest’s defense.
Schaeffer also had an impressive 7.1 innings pitched before stepping off the mound, holding Wake Forest to three runs on the game and recording five strikeouts.
When was it decided?
While Wake Forest tried to play catch-up in the fourth with a two-run homer, the Tar Heels made it clear they had no intentions of forfeiting their lead. In the fifth inning, after RBI singles from Horvath and Serretti, senior Mikey Madej tripled to right field to bring the score to 7-2. Sophomore Tomas Frick, who doubled to right field for a Madej run, scored on a wild pitch that made the score 8-2. The Tar Heels ultimately ended the fifth inning with a 10-run lead.
The blowout fifth inning was the defining moment of Saturday’s game, but that doesn’t necessarily indicate that it was the Tar Heels that upped their prowess. Wake Forest’s battery hit blunders of wild pitches and passed balls that ultimately cost the Demon Deacons the tie and the win.
Why does it matter?
The conference win against Wake Forest brings UNC off the margins and into ACC Tournament playoff contention. After losses to Miami and Virginia during the regular season, UNC Baseball’s fate in the tournament largely depended on a series win this weekend. This series win, in addition to the Tar Heels’ win against N.C. State last weekend, will help UNC beat out its competitors for a spot in the tournament.
When do they play next?
UNC will return to Boshamer Stadium for its third and final game against Wake Forest on Sunday, May 15. The game is set to start at 1 p.m.