Birthday Boy Dunbar Leads Tar Heels Past Camels on Bacon Night

Bacon wasn’t the only thing sizzling on Tuesday night at Boshamer Stadium.

Junior catcher Korey Dunbar homered, racked up three RBI, and scored twice himself–on his birthday–to lead the #23 UNC baseball team to a 8-3 win over the tough Campbell Fightin’ Camels as the Carolina marketing department drew fans out to the field with promises of “special bacon related concession items”.

“I smelled bacon when I was throwing BP, and that’s not what you want to smell when you’re throwing batting practice, so I might not have a piece of bacon for another couple months,” UNC head baseball coach Mike Fox says with a smile.

The Tar Heels improve to 25-15 with their second win in a row, while sending the Camels to their sixth consecutive loss, dropping the visitors to 25-16 on the year, proving that the bacon was not a distraction once the first pitch was thrown.

Tyler Ramirez also homered, and went 3-5 with an RBI, to help a Tar Heel team that had to rally from behind two separate times before finally distancing themselves in the final innings.

Campbell actually took the lead right out of the gate, as they legged out three infield hits against Carolina starter Benton Moss in the top of the first inning–capped off by first baseman Kyle Leady’s RBI single, which scored Cedric Mullins, who stole third base beforehand to set up the run.

Benton Moss was a bit rusty to begin the game. (UNC Athletics)

Benton Moss was a bit rusty to begin the game. (UNC Athletics)

That lead did not last very long, however, due to Camels’ starting pitcher Heath Bowers (6-4) struggling to find the strike zone.

Four walks and a balk by Bowers in the Tar Heels’ first turn at the plate was all it took to get home team on the right side of the scoreboard. Catcher Korey Dunbar crossed home on Bowers’ balk to tie it up, before Skye Bolt drew a bases loaded walk to put UNC ahead, despite getting just one hit (a single from Tyler Ramirez).

The Camels tied the game in the top of the third on a successful steal of home plate by catcher Steven Leonard, which happened because Moss had runners on first and third base, and Cedric Mullins took off for second base, prompting Korey Dunbar to throw across the diamond. After the throw was made, Leonard then bolted home to tie it up.

While the Carolina offense continued to have problems at the plate early on, the Camels kept finding ways to get hits at key moments. A double down the left-field line by right-fielder Cole Hallum with two outs in the fifth brought Cedric Mullins home, to put control of the game back in the visitor’s dugout.

Hallum was also the last batter that Benton Moss would face for the night, as Coach Fox made the move to the one other senior on his roster, reliever Trevor Kelley (4-1). For the night Moss would finish at 4.2 innings, striking out just two batters, while surrendering eight hits and three runs (two earned) on 78 pitches.

Again, though, the Camels could not hold onto the lead against a determined Tar Heel bunch–with the boys in light blue striking for four tallies in their half of the fifth, showing off the ability they have to rally from behind.

Joe Dudek was one of four Tar Heels to hit a double in the bottom of the fifth. (UNC Athletics)

Joe Dudek was one of four Tar Heels to hit a double in the bottom of the fifth. (UNC Athletics)

A lead-off double from Landon Lassiter, followed by Tyler Ramirez’s second base-hit of the night, chased Heath Bowers back to the dugout, and put the game in the hands of the Camel bullpen.

Senior reliever Coley Thompkins was supposed to be the solution for Campbell, but instead he allowed three consecutive RBI doubles to Korey Dunbar, Joe Dudek, and Skye Bolt to let the Tar Heels take a three run lead (Dunbar’s hit drove home both Lassiter and Ramirez).

“It was good to see us have a big inning, we needed it.” says Coach Fox, “We haven’t had an inning like that in a while. [Pitching] Coach [Scott] Forbes said ‘Do you wanna play for the big inning?’, and I was like ‘A big inning for us recently has been two runs’, so it was nice to see us have a big one.”

The birthday boy, Dunbar, struck again in the next frame, drilling a pitch from Campbell’s Bobby Thorson over the fence in right center-field to give Trevor Kelley an even bigger cushion to work with.

In case that wasn’t enough, the Tar Heels got another homer in the bottom of the eighth, this one from Tyler Ramirez, to twist the dagger in Campbell’s victory hopes.

All that was needed at that point was a clean ninth inning from Kelley, who came through, closing the game out with 4.1 scoreless innings after taking over for Moss.

“It’s cool, I mean it’s cool any day, it just happened to be on my birthday I guess,” says the soft-spoken Dunbar about his big night, adding that “I can’t take all the credit. Trevor [Kelley] goes out and Benton Moss, and they throw great innings for us, and then we got contributions from [Tyler Ramirez], and a whole bunch of other guys hit the ball well. It was a team effort.”

Up Next:

The Tar Heels will travel down to Wilmington on Wednesday for a top 25 match-up with the #22 UNCW Seahawks, who held a 28-8 record entering the week. On the mound for Carolina will be freshman lefty Hunter Williams (4-1, 1.14 ERA), who will take on Wilmington junior Evan Phillips (1-1, 5.96 ERA).

Game Notes:

  •  UNC has drawn nine walks in the first inning over its last two games (five on Saturday at VT, four in this game).
  • Carolina reliever Trevor Kelley maintains the NCAA lead in relief appearances, making his 29th tonight (out of 40 games).
  • In the big four run fifth inning, the Tar Heels batted all the way through the lineup.
  • Benton Moss made the mid-week start due to his scheduled Sunday start at Virginia Tech being washed out by rain this past weekend.

Diamond Heels Face Campbell Test

After a surprise series split with Virginia Tech this past weekend, the #23 Diamond Heels return home to Boshamer Stadium with a 24-15 record, which will be put on the line Tuesday for an in-state showdown with the 25-15 Campbell Fightin’ Camels.

Uncharacteristic struggles by UNC starting pitchers Zac Gallen and JB Bukauskas in Blacksburg almost cost Carolina a pair of crucial ACC wins against the Hokies, however the offense fought back for a tight victory on Saturday to position the Tar Heels in sole possession of second place in the ACC’s Coastal Division–also ensuring that head coach Mike Fox would not lose a series to Virginia Tech for the first time in his illustrious career.

Gallen, who threw a complete game the week before at home against NC State, allowed six runs in six innings against the Hokies on Friday, while Bukauskas, a freshman, hadn’t had a start go less than 4.2 innings in his entire career before Saturday, when he lasted just two innings and gave up seven runs.

Cole Hallum could present the Tar Heels with some unique challenges on Tuesday night. (

Cole Hallum could present the Tar Heels with some unique challenges Tuesday night. (

During recent mid-week games, though, the Carolina starting pitching has been lights out behind the left arm of freshman Hunter Williams. Over his last four starts, all during the middle of the week, Williams has thrown 24 innings, allowing just two runs and 10 hits combined.

If Williams is on the mound Tuesday night against the Camels, he’ll take on a team that has had great success throughout the season, but also one that is mired in the midst of a five game losing streak.

Campbell split two games with Virginia Tech back in February, and can also claim a road victory at Duke on March 31st, showing they’re capable of defeating ACC competition.

The main threat to the Tar Heels is the Camels’ junior outfielder Cole Hallum, who has 10 home runs and 34 RBI this year, while also picking up seven saves as the team’s closer. This high level of play earned Hallum National Player of the Week honors earlier in the year for his performance during the week of March 16.

First pitch is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday. The starting pitchers have yet to be announced.

Carolina Baseball Blows Out Campbell

The North Carolina baseball team blanked visiting Campbell 5-0 Tuesday night at Boshamer Stadium to improve to 28-19 on the season.

With the loss, the Camels dropped to 31-16 on the year after being unable to break through against freshman starting pitcher Zac Gallen.

Gallen tossed six scoreless innings to lead proceedings while Trevor Kelley took his place on the mound to finish the game in style as the Tar Heel duo limited the Camels to a mere six hits en route to the first shutout victory since April 11.

Michael Russell returned strong from his back injury to record three hits. Skye Bolt also blasted a trio of hits to lead the Tar Heel offensive charge.

After a scratchy defensive effort against East Carolina the last time out, Carolina cleaned things up on Tuesday with no errors in the box score.

Next up for the Tar Heels is a road game at the Elon Phoenix Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

Pair Of Midweek Tests To Challenge Diamond Heels Baseball Team

The Tar Heels are hitting the home stretch. Only two ACC series remain for Head Coach Mike Fox’s squad.

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And with perennial powerhouse Florida State and Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston coming to town this weekend for a three-game set, Carolina will be hoping to get its game in order. A couple midweek confidence-boosting wins against the Phoenix and Camels would be just what the Tar Heels are looking for.

First up, will be a 6 p.m. first pitch in Chapel Hill with 21-15 Campbell. The bunch from Raleigh is coming off a series victory over Gardner Webb.

Carolina is likely to start freshman pitcher Zac Gallen. Gallen has suffered an up-and-down season thus far with a 4.78 ERA to his name.

UNC holds a 32-10 all-time record versus Campbell, including a 3-1 mark under Coach Fox. But the last time the two schools met, it was the Camels who claimed a 7-5 win in extra innings.

On Wednesday, the Tar Heels will make the short drive down I-40 to face the 26-21 Phoenix at 6:30 p.m. Elon is coming off a home series defeat at the hands of Davidson.

For this encounter, it’s likely Carolina will summon another young gun, Taylore Cherry, to the mound. Cherry boasts a solid 3.16 ERA on the year.

The Tar Heels have won seven in a row over the Phoenix, including a tight 5-4 escape in Chapel Hill back on April 16.

Banged up junior Michael Russell will be tossed back into the lineup.  He’ll be one to keep an eye on. UNC’s offensive catalyst will need to be healthy and playing at a high level once again if the Tar Heels desire to stay in the postseason picture.

UNC Men’s Soccer Travels To Buies Creek Tuesday

CHAPEL HILL – The No. 2 UNC men’s soccer team steps out of conference play Tuesday with the hopes of coming away with something better than a tie when the Tar Heels face the Campbell Camels.

Carolina is coming off a 1-1 decision against Notre Dame in the ACC opener September 8 and a 2-2 final with Maryland on Friday.

The Camels are 1-3 and coming off a 2-0 loss against Loyola, Maryland and a 3-2 loss to Davidson.

Kickoff between Carolina and Campbell is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Tuesday in Buies Creek.