The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday June 26th

UNC baseball advances to NCAA Super Regionals after 7-3 victory over VCU

Sophomore catcher Tomas Frick (52) slides in safe to second base for a double during UNC's NCAA Regional against VCU at Boshamer Stadium on June 6, 2022.
Buy Photos Sophomore catcher Tomas Frick (52) slides in safe to second base for a double during UNC's NCAA Regional against VCU at Boshamer Stadium on June 6, 2022.

The No. 1 seed UNC baseball team (42-20, 15-15 ACC) beat No. 3 seed VCU (42-20, 19-5 A-10), 7-3, on Monday night to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals.

What happened?

Just as they did on Sunday night, UNC got out to a hot start in the first inning on Monday. With the corners painted in the top of the first inning, sophomore designated hitter Alberto Osuna delivered an RBI single to shallow center field to score junior shortstop Danny Serretti at third. In the following at-bat, senior left fielder Mikey Madej homered to left field to bring himself, Osuna and first-year center fielder Vance Honeycutt home. UNC exited the first frame up 4-0.

In the bottom of the first inning, VCU cut North Carolina’s lead to three. After two singles from Ben Nippolt and Logan Amiss and a walk drawn by Connor Hujsak, AJ Mathis grounded out to second base to score Nippolt. Junior left-handed pitcher Brandon Schaeffer recorded the final out of the inning, striking out redshirt sophomore Will Carlone to end the inning and strand two VCU runners on base.

After a scoreless second inning for both teams, UNC tacked on another run in the top of the third inning. After Honeycutt was hit by a pitch and stole two bases due to an errant pickoff throw by VCU pitcher Chase Hungate, Osuna ripped a line drive to center field to score Honeycutt and re-establish UNC’s four-run lead.

The fourth inning saw both teams score two runs.

Redshirt junior Angel Zarate singled to left field to kick off the top of the fourth. After a flyout from Horvath, Serretti stepped up to the plate to deliver a two-run bomb over the right-field fence for a brief six-run lead.

In the bottom of the fourth, after back-to-back singles from Carlone and Mathis, graduate catcher Jacob Selden singled through the right side to bring Mathis home. A later groundout from first-year infielder Marcus O’Malley scored Carlone for the Ram’s second run of the inning, bringing the score to 7-3.

After a scoreless final five innings, the Diamond Heels officially punched a ticket to the NCAA Super Regionals.

Who stood out? 

The start of Schaeffer on the mound for UNC was monumental in establishing North Carolina’s early lead. On one day of rest, Schaeffer pitched just over three innings, recording five strikeouts and allowing only one Ram to cross the plate in his appearance.

Thanks to a terrific performance by UNC right-handed pitcher Gage Gillian following Schaeffer's exit from the game, VCU was held scoreless after the fourth inning. In 4.1 innings of work, the righty struck out four batters and allowed just one hit.

Offensively, Madej continued his success at the plate, going 2-for-4 on the day. The senior was essential in UNC’s first-inning rampage, as he brought in three runs with his home run in the first frame of action. 

When was it decided?

After Madej’s three-run homer in the first inning brought UNC out to a 4-0 lead, the momentum was clearly with the Tar Heels. Despite some offensive action later on, the Rams were unable to overcome this early deficit, and lost by four runs in the end.

Why does it matter?

Monday’s win sends the Diamond Heels on their 10th trip to an NCAA Super Regional, and their third trip in their last four tournament appearances. Monday also marks the first time UNC has ever advanced out of a regional loser’s bracket in the NCAA Tournament’s current format.

When do they play next?

UNC will play the winner of the Stillwater Regional, either Arkansas or Oklahoma State, this upcoming weekend on either Friday or Saturday. The exact date, time and location is to be determined.

@shelbymswanson 

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com



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