In the final game of the regular season, the North Carolina baseball team (34-19, 15-15 ACC) trounced the No. 20 Florida State Seminoles (32-22, 15-15 ACC), 11-0, Saturday afternoon at Boshamer Stadium.
It didn’t take long for the Tar Heels to get on the board as, in the bottom half of the first inning, redshirt junior Angel Zarate lifted a lead-off home run on the first pitch he faced. Moments later, North Carolina had the bases loaded with two outs, but sophomore Tomas Frick struck out and ended the inning.
After holding Florida State scoreless for a second consecutive inning, UNC looked to increase its lead.
With bases juiced, the Tar Heels recorded back-to-back sacrifice flies from sophomore Mac Horvath and junior Danny Serretti. After this, North Carolina held a 3-0 lead.
Following the early fireworks from UNC, a pitchers duel would ensue.
In the fourth inning, junior Nik Pry got the call from the bullpen and instantly provided a spark for the Tar Heels’ defense. In his two innings on the mound, the Pinehurst, N.C. native totaled three strikeouts, including an inning-ending out with a Seminole in scoring position in the top of the fifth.
But, the two-team standstill would come to an end in the bottom frame of the same inning. Just like the team’s previous two runs, the Tar Heels called on a sacrifice fly to drive in their fourth run of the game, as Frick drove a ball to deep left field.
One inning later, North Carolina again found itself with bases loaded, this time with sophomore Alberto Osuna up to bat. The designated hitter delivered, as his 2-RBI single split the left-infield gap and gave UNC a sizable lead, 6-0.
The game then went into a weather delay that would last over two and a half hours.
Coming out of the stoppage, the Diamond Heels came out swinging. Horvath and first-year Vance Honeycutt both sailed two-run moonshots that highlighted a five-run seventh inning for North Carolina.
These proved to be the final scoring plays of the game, as UNC completed its sweep of FSU, 11-0.
Who stood out?
In potentially his final game in Chapel Hill, Zarate made sure to leave his mark on the contest from the jump. The lead-off hitter scaled a solo shot to right field that gave the Tar Heels an early lead.
Likewise, Osuna wrapped up his stellar weekend with another strong showing at the plate. The Walters State Community College transfer’s single in the bottom of the sixth inning drove in two runs for North Carolina and snapped a team hitless streak of eleven batters.
When was it decided?
After opening up a 3-0 lead in the first two innings, the Tar Heels turned to their pitching staff to keep the Seminoles scoreless while North Carolina’s bats cooled off.
Then, Horvath and Honeycutt’s pair of bombs gave the Diamond Heels a comfortable cushion heading into the game’s final two innings.
Why does it matter?
Coming into the weekend, postseason berths — for both the ACC and NCAA tournaments — were on the line for North Carolina.
With their win on Thursday night, the Diamond Heels locked themselves into the ACC Tournament, and with a series sweep over a nationally ranked Florida State team, UNC is now comfortably in the NCAA postseason field.
Moreover, the series sweep marks the first weekend sweep for the Tar Heels in over two months and continues North Carolina’s hot streak in May. Since the calendar turned to the spring month, UNC has won 10 of its last 12 games and notched three straight conference series wins.
When do they play next?
The ACC Tournament starts on Tuesday and is being held in Charlotte, N.C. The Diamond Heels will be pooled with Clemson and Virginia Tech, and are set to compete as the No. 8 seed.