The Diamond Heels have sent their 220th Tar Heel to the big leagues — and the first of 2023 — as junior Mac Horvath was drafted No. 53 by the Baltimore Orioles in the second round of the Major League Baseball draft on Sunday night.
Horvath’s Tar Heel career could’ve ended much sooner if it weren’t for a burst appendix during the 2022 Super Regional against Arkansas that sidelined him for what could’ve been his last game in a Tar Heel uniform.
Instead, the Minnesota native, despite being draft eligible, declared he would return to UNC for his junior season.
The slugger increased his draft stock exponentially with his dominant performance over the 2023 season. Not only was Horvath the first ACC player since Marshall McDougall in 1999 to have 20 stolen bases, 20 home runs and 20 doubles, but he also topped the ACC in several stat categories.
Horvath ranked second in home runs, second in stolen bases, fourth in runs scored, seventh in slugging percentage, seventh in doubles, eighth in RBIs and tenth in OPS. His monster performance led to him racking up various awards, most notably being named to the Perfect Game First Team All-America, First Team All-Atlantic Region and All-ACC Second Team.
Horvath etched his name into Tar Heel baseball history by ranking third all-time in career homers (47) and is only the third player in program history to finish his career with over 40 homers and 40 stolen bases.
In his final outing as a Tar Heel, Horvath perfectly displayed his talent and clutch factor, hitting a game-tying homer to send UNC to extras during their 6-5, 13-inning loss to Iowa in the Terre Haute Regionals of the NCAA Tournament.
His last game was not just a representation of his vitality across the 2023 season but his entire Tar Heel career. Horvath was not just a staunch presence in the hot corner, the outfield and at the plate but filled the role of unofficial team captain.
Not only did the Diamond Heels send up one of their most complete players, but also lost a highly touted recruit in Walker Jenkins, who is ranked as Perfect Game’s top high schooler in the nation.