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The Daily Tar Heel

Diamond Heels split double header with Georgia Tech in Atlanta to win series

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UNC junior infielder Mac Horvath (10) scores off a single by UNC junior catcher Tomas Frick (52) in the first inning of the baseball game against Duke at Boshamer Stadium on Friday, March 24, 2023. UNC fell to Duke 8-5.

The No.13 North Carolina baseball team (22-10, ACC 8-4) took one out two games in Friday’s  double header against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (19-13, ACC 7-8) as the Tar Heels captured their third ACC series win. 

What happened?

North Carolina fell behind 1-0 in the first inning of game one, but the team was quick to answer as junior first baseman Hunter Stokely hit an RBI single through the right side to bring home sophomore outfielder Vance Honeycutt from second. Later that inning, junior designated hitter Alberto Osuna batted an RBI single up the middle to put the Tar Heels up, 2-1. 

The Tar Heels added a pair of runs in the top of the third and stayed hot in the fourth, loading the bases to start the inning. Junior outfielder Mac Horvath drew a walk walked and Osuna scored from third. Van De Brake then singled up the middle to bring in two more runs.

The big inning for UNC continued as sophomore centerfielder Vance Honeycutt singled into the left to bring home Horvath, giving North Carolina an 8-1 lead. The Yellow Jackets cut the lead to 8-5 in the sixth, but the Heels stretched the lead to 10-5 after a two-run blast from Osuna in the seventh. UNC won the game 10-6.

Tar Heels took an early lead in game two and found home plate twice in the first two frames. Honeycutt had an RBI single in the first to score Horvath, who had reached on a fielder's choice and stole second. The next inning, Horvath hit a double to center to plate redshirt first-year Casey Cook.

The Yellow Jackets had a productive third inning propelled by a three RBI homer off the bat of Stephen Reid. Georgia Tech added two more runs that same inning to take control of the game. The Diamond Heels sent three different pitchers to the mound in the third inning. Starter Jake Knapp exited after Reid’s homer and was replaced by graduate Will Sandy, who allowed two hits and was replaced by first-year Cameron Padgett. 

The Diamond Heels managed to tally a run in the fifth inning when junior Jackson Van De Brake doubled and Horvath scored from second. Georgia Tech responded by scoring three runs on four hits in the following frame, increasing their lead over UNC. 

Despite scoring one more in the seventh when Tomas Frick hit a sacrifice RBI scoring Horvath, the Tar Heels dropped the final game of the series to the Yellow Jackets, 8-4. 

Who stood out?

In the first game, Stokely had a big day at the plate for the Tar Heels, going 4-5 and driving in three runs. Osuna also helped propel the North Carolina offense with three RBI’s on 2-3 hitting and a home run. 

In the second game, junior Mac Horvath crossed the plate three times for the Diamond Heels, as he went 2-4 with two doubles and an RBI. Junior Matt Poston took the mound for the final three innings of the game, recording four of UNC’s five strikeouts, allowing zero runs and just one hit in his 10 batters faced. 

When was it decided?

The first game saw North Carolina jump out to a big lead, scoring two runs in both the second and third inning. The Heels then added another four runs in the fourth inning to take an 8-1 lead. Although Georgia Tech made a late push, scoring four of their own in the sixth and one more in the seventh, the Tar Heels held on to win 10-6. 

The Tar Heels took an early lead for the first time in the series but ultimately let the Yellow Jackets have two monster innings, the third and the fifth, that plated eight runs. Georgia Tech’s offense was led by Stephen Ried who hit a three-run bomb in the bottom of the third. 

Why does it matter?

The Tar Heels have still yet to sweep an ACC series this year. Bullpen struggles have plagued North Carolina this season, and the team was unable to hold off the Yellow Jackets in the series finale.

Head Coach Steve Forbes unveiled a new lineup for the away games in Atlanta with Vance Honeycutt hitting cleanup and Casey Cook taking over as leadoff, sandwiching Mac Horvath and Jackson Van De Brake in between. Honeycutt has been shaky at the plate going 5-for-26 from the top spot coming into the weekend, with the lineup change Honeycutt went 4-for-12 against the Yellow Jackets. 

When do they play next?

The Diamond Heels will host Queens on Tuesday, April 11 at Boshamer Stadium. The first pitch is set for 6 p.m. 

@mdmaynard74 | @gracegnugent

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@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com