In Game Two of its final series of the season, the North Carolina baseball team (33-19, 14-15 ACC) defeated the No. 20 Florida State Seminoles (32-21, 15-14 ACC), 10-4, Friday night at Boshamer Stadium.
The Seminoles struck first, as two runners were put on base after first-year Jaime Ferrer notched FSU’s second single of the first frame. One batter later, sophomore Brett Roberts lasered a 2-RBI double that trailed down the left-field line.
But the lead was short-lived for the visitors.
In the bottom of the first inning, junior Danny Serretti chopped a two-out single to give the Tar Heels their first base runner of the game. Shortly after, first-year Vance Honeycutt blasted his sixteenth home run of the season and tied the game up at two.
One inning later, sophomore Colby Wilkerson reached second base after an error by the Seminoles’ center fielder. Moments later, the Tar Heels made FSU pay for its error as sophomore Mac Horvath’s sacrifice fly gave North Carolina its first lead of the night, 3-2.
After both teams exchanged inning-ending double plays, UNC looked poised to increase its lead.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Wilkerson’s lead-off walk was followed up by a single by redshirt junior Angel Zarate to plate two Tar Heels. But the Seminoles executed another double play to leave the Tar Heels empty-handed.
However, North Carolina’s defense remained stout, as junior pitcher Brandon Schaeffer struck out Ferrer to end FSU’s attempt to tie the game in the fifth inning. In the bottom half of the same inning, sophomore designated hitter Alberto Osuna doubled the Tar Heels’ lead with a solo moonshot that skyed into forests behind Boshamer Stadium’s left field wall.
After being held scoreless for five straight innings, Florida State’s offense broke through in the top of the seventh. Senior Brock Mathis’ lead-off bomb traveled over the left-field scoreboard and sliced North Carolina’s lead in half.
The Tar Heels responded again to the Seminoles’ attack, this time in the seventh inning. Senior Mikey Madej’s sacrifice fly drove in North Carolina’s second run of the inning and extended the team’s lead to three.
North Carolina would increase its lead in the next inning.
After getting bases loaded with one out, Serretti smashed a grand slam to center field. This would be the final run of the game, with the Tar Heels winning, 10-4.
Who stood out?
Osuna’s power at the plate was on full display for the second straight day against the Seminoles. His solo shot in the fifth inning was a no-doubter that sailed over left field.
Honeycutt was also impressive, as he continued his historic first year with the Tar Heels and inched closer to a UNC single-season record. Currently, 2019 first-year Aaron Sabato holds the North Carolina home run record for first-years with 18, a mark Honeycutt is now just two blasts shy of.
When was it decided?
After falling into an early hole in the first inning, the Tar Heels quickly responded behind the bat of Honeycutt. In the next inning, North Carolina would take the lead after Horvath’s sacrifice fly drove in the third run for UNC.
The Tar Heels would not surrender this lead for the remainder of the game, thanks to steady pitching on the bump and a four-run eighth inning.
Why does it matter?
With the win, the Tar Heels have likely stamped their ticket into the NCAA Tournament with — at the bare minimum — an at-large berth.
Moreover, the win clinches another series win for North Carolina, its third-straight in conference play. In addition, UNC has now won 10 of its last 12 games, a winning streak that should give the team a much-needed boost heading into the team’s final regular-season game and the ACC tournament.
When do they play next?
UNC will close out its series with Florida State on Saturday, with the first pitch coming at 2 p.m.
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