UNC’s No. 24 baseball team earns 16-1 midweek win over Longwood
North Carolina’s No. 24 baseball team (7-1, 0-0 ACC) defeated Longwood (3-6 0-0 Big South), 16-1, at Boshamer Stadium on Tuesday night.
After a no-hitter first inning by the Lancers, the Diamond Heels struck first when freshman Vance Honeycutt homered to center field. However, the round quickly ended when redshirt junior Angel Zarate, second Tomas Frick and junior Danny Serretti were all eliminated.
Neither team scored in the second inning due to a double play by North Carolina and a solid pitch from Longwood pitcher Logan Berrier. North Carolina’s only score in the third inning came from a double by Zarate that allowed Honeycutt to convert his stolen second base to a run.
Two strikeouts by second-year pitcher Connor Bovair effectively helped extend the Lancers’ fourth-inning drought. A wild pitch from Longwood pitcher Jack Lamb allowed second Mac Horvath to third base. The Rochester native scored soon after.
The Lancers finally got on the board when a single to left field from Michael Peterson allowed Eliot Dix to score. The Diamond Heels responded with a run to close out the fifth inning with a 4-1 lead.
A quick, scoreless inning by the Lancers was followed by a blowout from the Diamond Heel formation. First, a single from second Alberto Osuna was followed by a double from second Will Stewart. Osuna scored when second Hunter Stokely went to first base after being hit by a pitch.
The bases were still loaded after Zarate walked, which also allowed Stewart to score. Then Frick hit a grand slam to extend the lead to 10-1. The monstrous sixth inning was capped by a two RBI single from Stokely, with Horvath and Serretti scoring.
The Lancers were held scoreless for the remainder of the game, while a four-run eighth inning by UNC put North Carolina ahead 16-1 going into the final inning.
Who stood out?
Bovair led a defense that allowed just one run and Bovair himself allowed just three hits on 74 total pitches. Additionally, Zarate, Serretti and Osuna each had two hits.
Honeycutt and Frick represented the game’s two home runs, with Frick’s grand slam serving as the dagger.
When was it decided?
Although neither team seemed to find any momentum for the first half of the game, North Carolina nibbled away single-run innings until its sixth-inning run-off. Frick’s grand slam effectively amplified the pressure on the Lancers to score.
Additionally, Longwood’s lack of throwing depth was noticeable late in the game, as the Diamond Heels scored 12 of 16 runs in their final three innings at bat.
Why is this important?
After a dominating win over Longwood and a solidly contested streak against an ECU-ranked team last weekend, the Tar Heels appear to be in good shape for the conference game, which opens March 11 against Pittsburgh.
Additionally, the scoring explosion in the sixth inning demonstrated that when things are slow – like when the score is still 4-1 in the bottom of the sixth – the Diamond Heels are more than capable of producing a scoring barrage at any time when they have hitters like Frick and Honeycutt.
When do they play next?
The Diamond Heels return to Boshamer Stadium on Wednesday to face Winthrop at 4 p.m.
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