The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday August 16th

UNC baseball beats UGA, 6-5, to set up rematch against VCU in NCAA Chapel Hill Regional

Sophomore infielder Mac Horvath (10) hits the ball during UNC's NCAA Regional against Georgia at Boshamer Stadium on June 5, 2022. UNC won 6-5.
Buy Photos Sophomore infielder Mac Horvath (10) hits the ball during UNC's NCAA Regional against Georgia at Boshamer Stadium on June 5, 2022. UNC won 6-5.

The UNC baseball team (40-20, 15-15 ACC) beat UGA (36-23, 15-15 SEC), 6-5, in the loser’s bracket of the NCAA Chapel Hill Regional on Sunday afternoon to set up a rematch against VCU.

What happened?

In the top of the first inning, the Georgia Bulldogs made quick work of the Tar Heels in a three-up, three-down outing thanks to two groundouts and a leaping grab by UGA center fielder Ben Anderson.

Georgia was able to get two runners on base early after senior infielder Cory Acton singled and graduate outfielder Connor Tate drew a walk in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs, a flyout from sophomore infielder Parks Harber ended the frame, and both teams exited the first inning without any runs.

Sophomore infielder Johnny Castagnozzi stepped up to the plate with two outs and two runners on in the top of the second inning. The Massapequa, N.Y. native smoked a line drive that rolled right under the glove of a diving Joshua McAllister at third base. Designated hitter Alberto Osuna, who reached base earlier in the inning on an error from McAllister, hustled from second base to home to put UNC on the board.

With UNC leading by one run, UGA looked to even the score after McAllister drew a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a flyout. UNC substituted left-handed pitcher Shawn Rapp for starter Will Sandy, and Rapp immediately recorded the third out of the inning on a flyout to center field to avoid an early scare from the Bulldogs.

In the top of the third inning, after singles from Angel Zarate and Vance Honeycutt, Osuna loaded the bases with a walk. This brought senior Mikey Madej to the plate, who delivered a clutch single to right-center field to bring in two runs for UNC. Shortly after, Osuna stole home on a wild pitch to make the score 4-0. 

In the bottom of the same inning, UGA struck back with a run of its own. After graduate outfielder Connor Tate reached on a fielder’s choice, singles from Parks Harber and Chaney Rogers advanced and scored him to bring the Bulldogs their first run of the game.

After scoreless fourth and fifth innings for both teams, UNC picked up another run in the top of the sixth inning thanks to a solo home run from sophomore catcher Tomas Frick. UGA added on a run of its own in the bottom of the sixth after Acton doubled to score Anderson, making the score 5-2.

In the seventh inning, UNC extended its lead to four runs after senior Mikey Madej singled to the shortstop to bring in first-year center fielder Vance Honeycutt, making the score 6-2. 

In the ninth inning, UGA almost mounted a late comeback. Rogers cut North Carolina's lead to one with a three-run home run, and it appeared as though Georgia would tie the game as McAllister launched a high fly ball to center field. However, thanks to a robbery by Honeycutt in center, and a final out delivered by senior left-handed pitcher Caden O'Brien, UNC escaped with a 6-5 win.

Who stood out? 

Madej provided much of UNC’s offensive firepower on Sunday afternoon, recording three RBIs on two hits. The senior brought the Tar Heels out to a 3-0 lead midway through the third inning with a two-RBI single to right-center field. Madej struck again in the seventh inning, scoring Honeycutt on a single to the shortstop.

Honeycutt stood out on the defensive end, recording seven putouts, including a game-winning catch in the bottom of the ninth inning.

When was it decided?

Sunday afternoon’s victory proved to be yet another thriller for the Tar Heels, as Georgia almost mounted a ninth-inning comeback. However, thanks to Honeycutt's snag of what would have been a game-tying home run, North Carolina narrowly escaped with a victory.

Why does it matter?

Sunday afternoon’s win keeps UNC’s postseason alive after a Saturday night loss dropped the team in the Chapel Hill Regional loser’s bracket.  

The 6-5 result was secured by UNC’s ability to take advantage of runners in scoring position. UNC was .300 with runners in scoring position on Sunday afternoon, compared to 1-9 the day before.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will compete later on Sunday in a rematch against No. 3 seed VCU at 6 p.m.

@shelbymswanson 

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com



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