In a high-scoring evening game, the No. 13 North Carolina baseball team (6-3) defeated the VCU Rams (2-6), 14-10, at Boshamer Stadium to sweep the two-game series.
VCU started their runs early in the top of the first inning. Will Carlone hit a single to center field, sending home Cooper Benzin, who singled and stole second base earlier in the frame.
It didn't take long for the Tar Heels to pop up on the scoreboard too, scoring three runs in the bottom of the second. Slugger After the Tar Heels loaded the bases, Alberto Osuna scored off a single from Patrick Alvarez. With Alvarez and Jackson Van De Brake left on base, Colby Wilkerson hit a shot out to center field for a double and two RBIs.
UNC’s two-run lead was short-lived. In the top of the third inning, Logan Amiss hit a three-run homer after starting pitcher Kyle Percival walked Will Bean and righty Nik Pry walked Will Carlone.
North Carolina struck once again in the bottom of the third. Mac Horvath singled then stole second base. Osuna singled, scoring Horvath. Eric Grintz was then walked, allowing Van De Brake hit to hit a three-run dinger to left field and score both Grintz and Osuna.
During the top of the fourth, VCU’s AJ Mathis hit a homer to right field.
The fifth inning showed a lull in the action, being the first and only in the game to not see runs from either the Rams or the Tar Heels.
The Rams came back within one run after the top of the sixth inning. After a Cooper Benzin single and a Bean double, Will Carlone hit a single to right field and ran them both home.
In the bottom of the sixth, Preseason All-American Vance Honeycutt hit a solo-shot homer into left field.
After both Grintz and Van De Brake got hit by pitches in the bottom of the seventh, Wilkerson singled and loaded the bases. Up walked Vance Honeycutt, who hit a sacrifice-fly and scored Grintz.
Despite having a comfortable lead, the Tar Heels were not done scoring in the bottom of the eighth. After singles from both Casey Cook and Osuna, Grintz hit a double that scored both. Van De Brake then smashed his second home run of the game and scored Grintz.
In a last minute attempt, the Rams’ Scottie O’Bryan hit a home run and scored Griffin Boone in the top of the ninth.
Who stood out?
Recent transfer Jackson Van De Brake went 3-for-4 at the plate with five RBIs. His three-run homer in the bottom of the third ensured that the Tar Heels stayed within striking distance of the Rams — close enough to get the win.
Junior Mac Horvath had one stolen base, two singles, and one double. He went 3-for-6 with two runs.
When was it decided?
Runs were scored in nearly every inning, but the Tar Heels secured their win in the bottom of the third when Van De Brake homered and Horvath scored off his stolen base. The Rams scored in the fourth, sixth and eighth innings, but it was never enough to surpass the runs scored by the Diamond Heels.
Why does it matter?
Despite yesterday’s eight strikeouts, North Carolina’s bullpen struggled today. Starting pitcher Kyle Percival exited during the top of the third, starting the string of seven other UNC pitchers seeing action in today’s game. Combining for ten strikeouts among eight different pitchers, this win today was a team effort.
Successful hitting continued for North Carolina, who scored 14 runs on 15 hits.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will remain at home for a three-game series against Stony Brook. First game is Friday at 4 p.m.
@dthsports | email@example.com
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.