The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday June 26th

UNC baseball's season ends in a 4-3 walk-off loss to Arkansas in NCAA Super Regionals

Sophomore designated hitter Alberto Osuna (23) runs towards third base after UNC gets a hit. UNC lost 3-4 against Arkansas at home in the NCAA Super Regionals on Sunday, June 12, 2022.
Buy Photos Sophomore designated hitter Alberto Osuna (23) runs towards third base after UNC gets a hit. UNC lost 3-4 against Arkansas at home in the NCAA Super Regionals on Sunday, June 12, 2022.

The Arkansas baseball team (43-19, 18-12 SEC) walked off UNC (42-22, 15-15 ACC), 4-3, to win the Chapel Hill Super Regional and punch a ticket to the NCAA Men’s College World Series.

What happened?

The game began with a first-pitch pop-up from redshirt junior right fielder Angel Zarate to center field. After first-year center fielder Vance Honeycutt drew a four-pitch walk, junior shortstop Danny Serretti grounded into a double play to end the first frame for the Tar Heels.

After two uneventful frames, the Razorbacks looked poised to strike in the bottom of the second inning. After loading the bases with two outs, redshirt junior Zack Gregory faced off against UNC left-handed pitcher Brandon Schaeffer in a lengthy at-bat. Schaeffer punched out Gregory with seven pitches, stranding three Arkansas runners to end the second inning.

A weather delay began shortly after the second inning and the game resumed over an hour and a half later at 3:30 p.m. Both teams failed to score in the third inning following the break.

Arkansas tacked on a run in each of the next two innings to take a 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, a double down the left-field line from senior shortstop Jalen Battles scored graduate right fielder Chris Lanzilli, who reached base on a fielder’s choice earlier in the frame. In the fifth inning, the Razorbacks added another run after graduate right fielder Braydon Webb launched a solo home run on the first pitch of his at-bat.

Another scoreless inning followed before the Tar Heels evened the score at 2-2. 

In the top of the seventh inning, senior left fielder Mikey Madej led off the frame with a single up the middle. In the very next at-bat, sophomore catcher Tomas Frick was hit by a pitch to put two runners on base with no outs for the Tar Heels. After sophomore Johnny Castagnozzi grounded out to advance both runners, sophomore pinch hitter Eric Grintz grounded out and scored Madej. Finally, Frick scored on a wild pitch for the second run of the inning.

The Razorbacks had an opportunity to score in the next frame, as senior designated hitter Brady Slavens lined a pitch to center field with a runner in scoring position. However, a diving effort by Honeycutt in center field left Arkansas empty-handed, stranding first-year first baseman Peyton Stovall.

After another weather delay, Arkansas came up short yet again in the bottom of the eighth inning. With two runners on base and one out, junior second baseman Robert Moore grounded into a double play as Serretti backhanded the hit and tagged second base before throwing to first to get out of the inning.

In the top of the ninth inning, sophomore infielder Patrick Alvarez delivered his fifth hit of the season at a crucial time for UNC, scoring Frick to put North Carolina up 3-2.

Still, the Tar Heels came up short in the bottom of the ninth inning. After back-to-back Arkansas singles and a walk, Webb reached on a fielder’s choice to score Battles. A Slavens single through the right side sealed the game as Arkansas walked off UNC, 4-3.

Who stood out? 

Slavens is the obvious standout of Sunday’s game, recording the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth inning.

However, before this, Stovall’s offensive consistency kept the Razorbacks in the game. He went three-for-four at the plate, keeping the Arkansas offense alive at key points in the game. In the game’s final frame, before Slavens could record the walk-off hit, Stovall’s third single of the day put two runners on base for the Razorbacks. It was also Stovall who ran across the plate later in the inning for the winning run of the game.

When was it decided?

Sunday’s game came down to the wire, as UNC took the lead in the top of the ninth inning before Arkansas walked the game off in the matchup’s final frame. 

Slaven’s single through the right side was the deciding factor in the Chapel Hill Super Regional, scoring Stovall for the walk-off win.

Why does it matter?

With its win on Sunday, Arkansas completed its Super Regional series sweep of the Diamond Heels, ending UNC’s season. 

This game marks the fifth walk-off defeat of UNC's season.

When do they play next?

Sunday's loss ends the 2022 season for the Diamond Heels.

@shelbymswanson 

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com



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