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Sunday March 26th

UNC baseball surrenders early lead in Saturday's 8-4 loss to Virginia

<p>UNC junior right-handed pitcher Connor Bovair (27) throws the ball during the baseball game against ECU on Feb. 26, 2023, at Bryson Field at Boshamer Stadium. UNC lost 5-6.</p>
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UNC junior right-handed pitcher Connor Bovair (27) throws the ball during the baseball game against ECU on Feb. 26, 2023, at Bryson Field at Boshamer Stadium. UNC lost 5-6.

Despite jumping out to a three-run lead, the No. 14 North Carolina baseball team (11-5, 0-2 ACC) fell to the No. 17 Virginia Cavaliers (14-0, 2-0 ACC), 8-4, on Saturday afternoon at Boshamer Stadium.

What happened?

North Carolina rebounded from its shaky start in Friday’s series opener by retiring the Cavaliers after catcher Kyle Teel popped out third base.

In the bottom half of the inning, the Diamond Heels jumped on Virginia starter Brian Edginton. Sophomore center fielder Vance Honeycutt kickstarted the charge with a bunt single. Soon after, junior second baseman Jackson Van De Brake lifted a double into the right-center field gap to plate UNC’s first run. 

One batter later, junior catcher Tomas Frick rifled a double to drive in Van De Brake. Then, junior designated hitter Alberto Osuna splashed an RBI single into shallow left field to cap off a three-run frame for the Diamond Heels.

After two scoreless innings, UVA looked to scrape out of its hole. In the top of the fourth inning, Grif O’Ferrall’s walk loaded the bases with two outs. But junior Ethan O’Donnell lined out to junior shortstop Colby Wilkerson to help the Diamond Heels escape the frame unscathed. 

Virginia would ramp up the pressure in its next offensive frame. First baseman Ethan Anderson’s single drove home the Cavaliers’ first run of the afternoon. Henry Godbout followed up the act with an RBI of his own to trim UNC’s lead to 3-2.

Following a fourth straight scoreless frame for North Carolina, the Cavaliers looked to seize their deficit. O’Donnell’s solo blast inched over the left-field wall to knot the game up at three runs apiece. 

Connor Bovair’s day on the mound came to an end after Casey Sauke lined a single up the middle. Anderson’s 2-RBI double sailed past the outstretched glove left fielder Patrick Alvarez and the Cavaliers took their first lead of the day. A sacrifice fly out later in the inning would stretch UVA’s lead to 6-3.

Virginia would tack on a pair of runs in the eighth inning, and North Carolina would respond with a run of its own. Redshirt first-year Casey Cook’s sacrifice fly proved to be the final scoring play of the contest, and Virginia came away with the win, 8-4.

Who stood out? 

Osuna had a solid outing at the plate. After being sidelined with a hand injury to start the season, North Carolina’s slugger recorded two hits, drove in a run and drew a walk against UVA.

Bovair continued his strong junior campaign in his fourth start of the season. The right-handed pitcher worked his way through six innings and surrendered three earned runs. 

When was it decided?

The Diamond Heels took an early lead in the first inning behind the bats of Van De Brake, Frick and Osuna. But the early display of offense hardly foreshadowed a potent day for UNC batters, as North Carolina was held scoreless over the next six innings.

While UNC struggled to add to its lead, the Cavaliers slowly chipped away. By the sixth inning, Virginia tied the contest and UVA would take a five-run advantage midway through the eighth. 

Why does it matter?

The loss removes the possibility of North Carolina securing the series. The Diamond Heels are still searching for its first game against a quality opponent where their pitching staff and offense complement one another.

When do they play next?

UNC wraps up its series against Virginia with the second half of Saturday’s double header. First pitch is set for approximately 4:55 pm.


@dthsports |

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