The North Carolina baseball team extended its winning streak to eight games this weekend by pounding out a school-record 48 runs in a three-game sweep at Boston College. Coach Mike Fox’s fourth-ranked Tar Heels scored 15 or more runs in each game while surpassing their old ACC series mark of 45 runs set against Duke in 2002. Sophomore third baseman Kyle Datres led the offensive onslaught by hitting .636 with a pair of home runs in the series. The Tar Heels (26-6, 12-3 ACC) hit four homers in Saturday’s 17-7 win, with Zach Gahagan getting things started with a grand slam to key a seven-run sixth inning. Datres, Logan Warmoth and Brian Miller also went deep in the victory. All nine starters got at least one hit to key a season-high 20-hit attack in a 16-4 win that helped freshman Luca Dalatri earn his first conference victory on the mound in the first game of a Sunday doubleheader. UNC then won the nightcap 15-3 behind Warmoth’s team-leading seventh homer. While the Tar Heels continued their winning ways, NC State finally began to show some signs of life after an unexpectedly slow start to the season. The Wolfpack (18-15, 7-8) bounced back from an opening game 16-7 loss to Florida State to win the next two and score a key ACC series victory. The most encouraging aspect of the weekend was the pitching performance of Brian Brown on Saturday. The one-time ace, who missed the early part of the season recovering from an injury, struck out five and allowed only four hits and two runs over 6⅓ strong innings in a 4-3 win and was backed by the home run bats of Evan Mendoza and Brad Debo. State finished off the series with an 8-4 win in which Josh McLain hit his ACC-leading 17th double and the trio of Brett Kinneman, Will Wilson and Joe Dunand drove in two runs each to back the solid pitching of freshman Michael Benlein. Wake Forest (23-8, 9-4) won only once in three games this weekend, but its 2-1 win at No. 2 Louisville on Friday snapped the Cardinals’ 37-game home winning streak and marked the Deacons’ first win in nine tries against the ACC’s newest member. Ace Parker Dunshee struck out six and allowed only one run in seven innings to earn the win and ACC co-Pitcher of the Week honors while Gavin Sheets hit a two-run homer to key the offense. Louisville bounced back to win 7-6 on Saturday and 7-5 on Sunday to pull out the highly competitive series. Duke, meanwhile, lost twice at Miami. The Blue Devils (16-17, 5-9) wasted a homer by Griffin Conine and an effective start by Mitch Stallings while blowing a seven-run lead over the final three innings of a 9-7 setback on Saturday before suffering a 7-0 shutout on Sunday. The final game of the series is being played in Coral Gables on Monday night. Elsewhere around the state this weekend, UNC Wilmington broke a six-game losing streak by shutting out NC Central 3-0 on Friday behind the 12-strikeout performance of CAA Pitcher of the Week Alex Royalty and three hits from Mason Berne. The Seahawks (13-17) dropped Saturday’s game 8-6 after falling behind by five over the first three innings before bouncing back for a series-clinching 16-8 victory on Sunday in which Riley Zayicek and Brian Mims homered and Ryan Jeffers drove in three runs. East Carolina (18-15, 0-6 AAC) suffered its second straight conference sweep by losing 17-3, 8-1 and 9-6 at Houston. The series got off to an ominous start when pitcher Chris Holba was hit in the head by a line drive in the second inning Friday and went downhill from there. Eric Tyler provided one of the few highlights by reaching base in all three games to extend his streak of 19 straight games of getting on base at least once. Luke Bolka had a three-run homer in the Sunday loss. Charlotte (17-15, 6-6 CUSA) suffered an even bigger collapse than Duke by squandering a 9-0 sixth inning lead at Florida Atlantic in a 13-10 12-inning loss. The 49ers stumbled late again Saturday in a 7-4 loss that was tied as late as the seventh before finally salvaging Sunday’s game 11-5 as Logan Sherer keyed a 10-run first inning with a grand slam. Appalachian State (12-19, 3-8 Sun Belt) got swept by conference rival Texas-Arlington, losing 18-1 on Friday, 5-2 on Saturday despite a 4 for 4 performance from Brian Bauk, and 6-5 on Sunday.
East Carolina and UNC Wilmington entered the 2017 baseball season with high expectations and national rankings. One is on its way to fulfilling its promise heading three weeks into the nonconference schedule while the other […]
CHAPEL HILL It never seems to matter where a baseball manager tries to hide the weakest fielder in his lineup. Somehow, the ball always manages to find him. North Carolina is the college football […]
NC State’s late season momentum was slowed at the ACC tournament by a disastrous first inning against rival North Carolina that helped eliminate the Wolfpack in pool play on Friday. But that turned out to […]