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The Daily Tar Heel

No. 17 UNC baseball earns win over Princeton in first game of weekend series

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UNC graduate student infielder Alex Madera (1) sprints toward third base during the men’s baseball game against Wagner at Boshamer Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. UNC won 16-5.

The No. 17 UNC baseball team (8-2) rode a big bottom of the first inning to a series-opening 12-2 victory over Princeton (1-3) Friday afternoon at Boshamer Stadium. Graduate infielder Alex Madera led the Tar Heels, going 4-for-5 with three doubles.

“Just not trying to do too much,” Madera said. “Just get a bat on the ball, and let everything else work itself out.”

First-year southpaw Folger Boaz made his third consecutive Friday start, entering the day with a 1.86 ERA over nine and two thirds innings.

But he found trouble in the top of the first. The first two Tigers reached base through a hit by pitch and a walk. Matt Scannel reached third on a flyout and then stole home when Boaz tried to pick off Caden Shapiro at first. 

“[Boaz] didn’t have his stuff today, but that shows how good he can be,” head coach Scott Forbes said. “He still had enough command to battle through it.”

The Tar Heels broke out for 11 in the bottom of the inning. Madera hit a soft fly ball into shallow left that fell in for a double before junior outfielder Vance Honeycutt reached on a dropped fly ball in right. Redshirt-sophomore Casey Cook drove in Madera with a single, and senior first baseman Alberto Osuna stayed hot, plating Honeycutt and Cook with a double to right center. First-year catcher Luke Stevenson added an RBI single, driving in graduate outfielder Anthony Donofrio who walked. Senior infielder Colby Wilkerson and Madera reached with RBI singles before Honeycutt came back up and hit a moonshot over the center-field fence for a three-run homer that traveled 423 feet.

Osuna punctuated the inning with one more RBI single. Princeton starter Sean Episcobe threw 56 pitches over a third of an inning. It was the most runs the Tar Heels have scored in an inning so far this season.

North Carolina added a run through a Cook sacrifice fly in the second, and Princeton’s Dylan Zdunek recorded an RBI single off Boaz in the fourth

Boaz exited after seven solid innings of work. He allowed just two runs on three hits, fanning nine. 

“My slider was probably the best thing today,” Boaz said. “I was really struggling with my fastball command. But getting ahead early and landing that first pitch was the biggest thing.”

Cook had three hits, while Honeycutt and Osuna both drove in three.

Game two of the series between the Tar Heels and Tigers is tomorrow at noon.

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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