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The Daily Tar Heel

Diamond Heels complete sweep of NC State with 12-2 win on Senior Day

Junior right-handed pitcher Jake Knapp (42) pitches the ball during the baseball game against Boston College on Sunday, April 23, 2023, at Boshamer Stadium. UNC fell to Boston College 2-6.

On Senior Day at the Bosh, the North Carolina Diamond Heels (33-17, 14-11) completed the sweep of the NC State Wolfpack (31-18, 10-16) with a 12-2 win in an offensive onslaught by the Tar Heels. 

What happened?

The Tar Heel offense picked up where it left off Friday night, getting on the board in the bottom of the first inning as junior Mac Horvath singled to left, driving in redshirt first-year Casey Cook. After loading the bases, junior first baseman Hunter Stokely singled to right to plate junior second baseman Jackson Van De Brake. A sacrifice fly then drove in Horvath, giving the Tar Heels a 3-0 lead. 

UNC’s offense kept rolling in the second, adding another run on a sacrifice fly that drove in Van De Brake from third. The Tar Heels tacked on one more in the third, as junior shortstop Colby Wilkerson drove in junior third baseman Johnny Castagnozzi scored second. Two more runners came home for North Carolina on a single from sophomore outfielder Vance Honeycutt to take a 7-0 lead.

Junior starting pitcher Jake Knapp was dealing on the mound through four innings for the Tar Heels, holding NC State to just two hits and going three up, three down in both the second and third frames. In between the third and fourth innings, the NC State coaching staff had the umpires check Knapp for illegal substances, but nothing was found. 

North Carolina scored for the fourth consecutive inning, as a single up the middle from Wilkerson drove in Stokely and extended the lead to eight. After loading the bases, Van De Brake singled to left, driving in Wilkerson and Castagnozzi, putting UNC up 10-0. 

After UNC extended the lead to 11-0, the Wolfpack responded in the sixth with a solo home run to lead off the inning. NC State added another solo home run in the seventh, cutting the UNC lead to 11-2. 

In the bottom of the seventh, Stokely grounded into a double play, but Horvath scored, putting the Heels up 12-2. Neither team scored in the eighth or ninth, and the Tar Heels won 12-2. 

Who stood out? 

Knapp had a stellar outing on the mound for the Tar Heels, stifling the NC State offense. In six innings pitched, Knapp struck out three Wolfpack batters and allowed just two runs on five hits.

At the plate, Cook and Van De Brake both tallied three hits and added two runs. Honeycutt, Frick, Stokely, Castagnozzi and Wilkerson all added two hits a piece. 

When was it decided?

The Tar Heels jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first frame, and kept piling the runs on throughout the rest of the game. North Carolina scored at least one run in each of the first five innings, including three runs  each in the first, third and fourth innings.  

Why does it matter?

In what was a vital ACC series, the Tar Heels were able to complete the sweep of the Wolfpack, meaning that UNC can’t finish below .500 in ACC play. This the first time this season that the Tar Heels have swept an ACC opponent — and their first sweep of NC State in Chapel Hill since 2006. 

Along with an 18-hit offensive performance, the Tar Heels found exactly what they have been looking for on the mound in the final two games of the series, with starters Max Carlson and Knapp going deep, which has been a struggle during most of the season.

When do they play next?

The Diamond Heels will travel to Conway, S.C., to take on No. 8 Coastal Carolina on Tuesday, with the first pitch being set for 6 p.m.


@dthsports |

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