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The Daily Tar Heel

Horvath, Alvarez's bats key in Diamond Heels' win over Georgia Tech in ACC Tournament

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Junior infielder Mac Horvath swings at a pitch during a game against Georgia Tech on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. The Tar Heels won, 11-5.

Where did it go? 

North Carolina junior Mac Horvath’s 22nd home run on the season left many astonished, but not surprised. His moonshot left Durham Bulls Athletic Park, appearing to hit the top of a building at the American Tobacco Campus. 

Active bats were not an issue for the Tar Heels Tuesday afternoon, collecting a total of 15 hits and 11 runs to beat the 11-seeded Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 11-5, in their ACC Tournament opener.

Adding just another notch to his tally, Horvath sent one flying at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in the eighth inning. Coming hot off his bat, this crucial hit extended the UNC lead to four, but that’s not the only thing it caused.

This home run’s side effects were quickly felt as the momentum from it rushed through the veins of many of the Diamond Tar Heels' fans and players, starting a hot offensive frame from the Tar Heels — scoring four runs — to help seal the win.

"Sometimes you gotta get a big hit to get everyone going," Horvath said. "Once you get that hit, everyone starts feeling more confident and comfortable at the plate. As a team, everyone collectively comes together and starts putting out better at-bats."

Horvath is no stranger to success at the plate, especially against the Yellow Jackets. During his sophomore year, he tallied six hits in a three-game series against Georgia Tech. That is the most he has ever had in a series, as well as a career-best of four hits in a single game.

Recently during the Diamond Heels’ season match-up against Gardner-Webb, he became just the second Tar Heel to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in a season.

When head coach Scott Forbes joined the team in 2020, Horvath was entering his first year at North Carolina. This special relationship fostered into the juniors having a “soft spot” with Forbes because they have grown together he said, speaking about the evolution of Horvath’s game over the last few years. 

“He has made himself into who he is," Forbes said. "I try not to cry, but Mac is one of those kids that when he leaves, I’ll probably be crying somewhere. These guys work, and they lead by example."

Though Horvath notched the only North Carolina home run of the game, he was not the only big hitter. Bats got going almost immediately after his homer, with junior left fielder Patrick Alvarez driving a hit to the center of the scoreboard, allowing junior first baseman Hunter Stokely to cross home plate. 

However, players like Alvarez and UNC catcher Tomas Frick delivered all game. Horvath, Alvarez and Frick collected over half of the runs scored by the Tar Heels and almost half the hits.  

“We talked the other day and we said, ‘It’s a new season' — we forgot about Clemson, we are just going to come out and play hard,” Frick said.

Horvath said Alvarez is a key component to a long run in both the ACC and NCAA tournament. Tying with Frick for three hits against Georgia Tech and driving in the most runners across home plate during the match-up, it is easy to see his role as a significant one.

The Tar Heels have their next ACC tournament game Thursday against No. 2 Virginia. In their last match-up back in March, North Carolina beat them 6-0.

@Jordangoochi

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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