Heel Tough Blog: Heels Start Week Well, But Get Swept to Open ACC Play

Updated: Mar 11


GoHeels

After coming back from a disappointing weekend in Minneapolis, the Diamond Heels looked to recover in a week that saw them kick off their ACC slate. After a solid mid-week stretch to get this team back on track, the Tar Heels were swept  by Notre Dame over the weekend. Let’s look back at a tough week for the Heels in the Bosh.


Tuesday: North Carolina 12 UNC-Greensboro 5

The Tar Heels began the week with a nice win over a very solid UNC-Greensboro team. The Tar Heels offense jumped out to a great start, taking a 4-0 lead after the fifth inning. The Spartans would close the lead to just one run in the top of the 7th before an eight run bottom of the inning helped the Tar Heels pull away. Angel Zarate had another phenomenal day at the plate, registering four of the team seven hits in five at bats, driving in more runs. Meanwhile, Dylan Harris went deep for the fourth time this season, drove in three RBIs and drew two walks in his five plate appearances. Max Alba had a solid start on the mound before being pulled in the 4th. While the Tar Heel bullpen allowed four runs, they still combined to strike out eight batters, with Nik Pry picking up his second win of the season.


Wednesday: North Carolina 8 VCU 3

This game was another strong mid-week offensive performance for this young Tar Heel team. The long ball played a big role in this one, as both Aaron Sabato and Jake Holtzapple hit two-run bombs in the bottom of the 6th inning as pulled away from the Rams to help the Tar Heels pick up their tenth win of the season. Angel Zarate had another two hit night and drove in another run, while Holtzapple also finished the night 2-3, bringing in his first two runs of the season. The Tar Heels pitching staff combined for a strong outing, allowing just four hits that resulted in three runs and striking out fourteen batters along the way.


Friday: Notre Dame 8 North Carolina 5

The opening to ACC play did not go as planned for the Tar Heels as they got down early and just weren’t able to battle back into the game. Starting pitcher Joey Lancelloti had his worst outing of the season, going 5.0 innings, but allowing four runs, all coming in the first three innings. The Tar Heels did make a late charge, led by two home runs in the final three innings from Aaron Sabato, the only Tar Heel hitter to finish with multiple hits. The bullpen had their struggles, as well, allowing four runs of their own, while walking seven batters in the process. After the Heels closed the lead to one run on Sabato's first home run of the night, the Irish would pull away with three runs in the final two innings, putting too much distance between them and the Tar Heels.


Saturday: Notre Dame 11 North Carolina 8

This was the wildest game of the entire week and the Tar Heels best chance to win over the weekend. After an explosive 7th inning from the Fighting Irish put the Tar Heels behind 8-2, the team would battle back, scoring five runs in bottom of the 7th and eventually tying the game in the 8th with a Joey Lancelloti sacrifice fly. The game would head to extras, where Notre Dame would drive a base-loaded double down the left field line in the top 10th, taking a three run lead that was too much for the Tar Heels to overcome. Chris Joyner would pick up his first loss of the season, but it was a rough day overall for the pitching, as four of the eight pitchers that made an appearance on Saturday allowed two or more runs. This ruined what a solid day at the plate for guys like Will Stewart (1-4, 2 RBI, 2 BB) and Danny Serretti (1-2, 4 BB).


Sunday: Notre Dame 14 North Carolina 8

The Tar Heels looked to avoid the sweep against the Irish, but things went downhill early. Starting pitcher Connor Ollio completed just 1.0 inning and faced four batters in the 2nd inning before being removed. The Tar Heels would get down as many as six runs, before storming back to tie the game in the 4th inning with five runs, headlined by a sac fly by Danny Serretti that tied the game. The Irish immediately responded in the top of the 5th, extending back out to three. Angel Zarate's second RBI hit of the day allowed them to cut the lead to 10-8 before the Irish would score the final four runs to pull away. The bullpen was rocked once again, headlined by more struggles from Kyle Mott (1 ⅔ IP, 4 R, 3 ER, BB) and Austin Love (1+ IP, 2 R, 2 ER). Caden O’Brien would pick up the loss, however, as he was one of six pitchers to allow at least one earned run. The pitching struggles will overshadow another strong game for both Zarate and Aaron Sabato, the latter of which has seemed to find his groove after an early season slump.