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Frick's hot day not enough as Diamond Heels fall to Clemson in ACC Tournament

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Junior catcher Tomas Frick prepares for an at-bat against Clemson on Saturday, May 27, 2023. UNC lost to the Tigers, 10-4.

In the sixth inning, junior catcher Tomas Frick hit a solo home run, which he had done just 10 times during the regular season. And in the ninth inning, the cracking sound of the second home run popping off Frick’s bat capped off a strong showing from the Greenville, S.C., native in the ACC Tournament. 

Though the Tar Heels fell to the Clemson Tigers 10-4 on Saturday, two of those four runs for North Carolina were gained off of Frick’s electric performance during his turn at bat.

“Taking it a pitch at a time and trying to fight back in the game," he said. "We knew they had their stuff and we really just tried to battle." 

This fight he spoke about was seen at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park as Frick stepped up, kicked the dirt, making room for his effort to keep the Diamond Heels in the game. Hitting it to left field and floating around the bases moments after, you could see that Frick was not done yet. 

“At this ballpark especially, you're just a couple of runners on or a couple of swings away from getting back into it,” Frick said.

After taking tough losses to the Clemson Tigers during their series matchup in South Carolina last week, the Diamond Heels struggled offensively against Clemson again on Saturday in the ACC Tournament semifinals.

This recent adversity against the Tigers showed itself as many Tar Heels were sent back to the dugout, with Clemson handing out 11 strikeouts throughout the game. However, Frick, like much of the team, is a powerhouse. Not only is he the second on the team in batting average for the Diamond Heels this season, but he has caught 467 balls and managed only three errors as a catcher.

Frick has had 60 RBIs this season, the most by a UNC catcher since Mark Fleury in 2009. Head coach Scott Forbes has seen firsthand how Frick's work ethic behind the scenes has allowed him to perform at a high level. 

“Just a mature kid, special kid, obviously, in my book," Forbes said. "I’ve known Tomas a long time. I recruited him way back — saw him at the Bosh — when he was really young. He has done the work like nobody else and is reaping that.”

This game was personal for many reasons, as it determined whether the Tar Heels could change their fate against the Tigers this season, but also because old hometown friends were playing one another. 

Clemson’s starting pitcher Caden Grice, Frick and UNC designated hitter Alberto Osuna are all from Greenville, S.C. When Grice spoke about the two home runs that were hit off of him — one from Osuna and one from Frick — he laughed.

“Both of the guys who hit them were my hometown buddies, Tomas Frick and Alberto Osuna, both Greenville boys," Grice said. "It was bittersweet. It was nice to see them do good, but off me, it was a little bit different."

Following the loss in the ACC Tournament semifinals, the Tar Heels will prepare for the NCAA Tournament. The regional round begins on June 2, with the Tar Heels traveling to Indiana as the No. 3 seed in the Terre Haute Regional hosted by Indiana State. The Diamond Heels will open the NCAA Tournament against No. 2 seed Iowa at 7 p.m. on Friday.

@Jordangoochi

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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