The North Carolina Diamond Heels (32-17, 13-11) downed the NC State Wolfpack (31-17, 10-15) 9-3 in the second game of the series on Friday night at Boshamer Stadium, giving them a crucial series win in the run-up to the postseason.
Junior Max Carlson made his first start since April 21 for the Tar Heels, and quickly went to work in the first frame, retiring the first three Wolfpack batters. In the bottom of the inning, North Carolina also went three up, three down.
In the bottom of the third inning, redshirt first-year Casey Cook reached base on a two-out double down the left field line, extending his on-base streak to 38 games, breaking the UNC first-year record set by Colin Moran in the 2011-12 season. On the next at bat, junior second baseman Jackson Van De Brake singled to center, driving in Cook to give UNC a 1-0 lead.
To lead off the bottom of the fourth, junior outfielder Mac Horvath singled to left, followed by a single to center off the bat of junior catcher Tomas Frick. A single to center from junior third baseman Johnny Castagnozzi brought both of them home, extending the UNC lead to 3-0.
The big inning for the Tar Heels continued, as junior shortstop Colby Wilkerson singled to center. Then, Cook singled up the middle, driving in Castagnozzi from second. Van De Brake grounded out to end the inning, with UNC up 4-0.
In the second half of the fifth inning, Horvath hit a solo blast to left field, extending the Tar Heel lead to 5-0. UNC added another in the bottom of the sixth, as Cook singled to center, driving in Castagnozzi from second. NC State got one back in the seventh off of a Jacob Cozart solo home run, cutting the UNC lead to five.
After loading the bases in the bottom of the seventh, junior designated hitter Eric Grinzt was walked, bringing sophomore outfielder Vance Honeycutt home and extending the lead back to six. In the next at bat, Castagnozzi was walked, driving in Frick. Another walk scored Stokely, putting UNC up 9-1.
The Wolfpack responded in the eighth on a solo home run to center field by Eli Serrano III, cutting the UNC lead to 9-2. NC State plated another run off of an RBI single from Kalae Harrison. North Carolina shut down the Wolfpack in the ninth to earn a 9-3 win.