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The Daily Tar Heel

Diamond Heels drop game three to Miami Hurricanes, 4-3

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UNC junior infielder Colby Wilkerson (3) smiles from ear to ear after a home run in the April 11, 2023 baseball game against Queens University of Charlotte in Boshamer Stadium.

In a tight afternoon battle, the No. 13 North Carolina baseball team (24-12, 9-7 ACC) lost to the Miami Hurricanes (22-13, 10-8), 4-3, Saturday at Boshamer Stadium. 

What happened?

Leadoff Casey Cook continued his trend of getting on base and junior Jackson Van De Brake followed in his footsteps and singled to left field. Hunter Stokely stepped up to bat–to a smattering of applause from The Bosh–and proceeded to strikeout, ending the frame with two men stranded.  

Tomas Frick began the second innings strong for the Diamond Heels as he doubled to center field. First-year Austin Hawke and junior Johnny Castongozzi grounded out, moving Frick from second to home as the Tar Heels notched their first run of the game. 

The Hurricanes responded as Lorenzo Carrier homered to center field. Miami scored twice more in the frame as Dominic Pitelli singled, batting in Yohandy Morales and CJ Kayfus, giving Miami their first lead of the game. 

Both teams were unproductive through the fourth inning, and the Hurricanes found success in the fifth as Zach Levenson homered to left field, increasing the Miami lead to three. 

The Tar Heels on the other hand struggled at the plate through the third, fourth and fifth frames, going nine up, nine down.

The Diamond Heel defense shone in the top of the sixth as right fielder Mac Horvath fielded a ball and heaved it to catcher Tomas Frick for an out at home. Frick then turned and slung the ball to shortstop Colby Wilkerson at second for another out, ridding the Heels of the one-out, men-on-base situation they had found themselves in.   

In their first show of offensive firepower Cook singled to left, Van De Brake singled and Vance Honeycutt walked, loading the bases. Frick stepped up to bat with two outs and bases loaded and smacked a single into center field, scoring Cook and Van De Brake. Honeycutt attempted to use his wheels to tie up the game but was caught out at home, ending the inning.

The bottom of the eighth looked like it would go favorably for the Diamond Heels as Cook and Van De Brake logged singles in the frame and Honeycutt drew a walk. However, the Heels were unable to capitalize as pinch hitter Eric Grintz hit into a double play. 

The Tar Heels would lose the game, 4-3, and drop the series to the Hurricanes, despite the electric walk-off homer from Hunter Stokely just a few hours earlier. 

The Tar Heels put a multitude of pitchers on the mound beginning with Knapp who was followed by Matthew Matthijs, Will Sandy, Nik Pry and Matt Poston. While Knapp recorded the loss, he contributed six strikeouts in his 4.2 innings pitched. 

Who stood out? 

Catcher Tomas Frick went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a double, and had a big defensive contribution with key putouts at home and second, 

Both leadoff man first-year Casey Cook and junior infielder Jackson Van De Brake went 3-for-4 at the plate, with one run a piece. 

When was it decided?

The Hurricanes had a three-run third frame, three runs that the Diamond Heels would eventually even up. However, it was a 385-foot homer by Zach Levenson that gave the Hurricanes the edge over the Tar Heels. 

Why does it matter?

After dropping the first game to Miami and coming from behind in 11 innings to win the second game the Tar Heels were looking for a series win. The Tar Heels have yet to find their “knockout punch” as head coach Scott Forbes says, and that lack of mental mettle showed as the Heels dropped the series to the Hurricanes at home. 

When do they play next?

The Diamond Heels will host the UNC Charlotte 49ers on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

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@gracegnugent

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com