CHAPEL HILL – The No. 5 North Carolina baseball team slipped past No. 8 Florida State Monday night 4-3 finishing regular season play.
In the first inning, freshman outfielder Skye Bolt singled to center field to score senior outfielder Chaz Frank from third.
The Seminoles turned around and tied the game 1-1 in the top of the second against senior Tar Heel pitcher Chris Munnelly.
Sophomore infielder Michael Russell helped regain the lead for North Carolina with back-to-back singles, which allowed both Bolt and senior first baseman Cody Stubbs to score. The Tar Heels led 3-1.
Freshman pitcher Reilly Hovis entered the game for the Tar Heels. The Seminoles then fought back and scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
Freshman pitcher Trent Thornton then entered the game in the top of the seventh inning. Junior catcher Brian Holberton singled in the game-winning run in the eight inning, as his hit allowed Cody Stubbs to score from third.
With the win, the Tar Heels finished the regular season 48-8 overall; the Seminoles fell to 44-12.
North Carolina reached an all-time best in wins this season, as it surpassed the 45 wins marked by the 2006, 2007, and 2008 teams.
Up next, the Tar Heels will compete in the ACC Tournament held in the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham. North Carolina will play Miami in the second round of round-robin play on Thursday at 3:00 p.m.
For the first time all season, Carolina is not in the top spot of any of the four national baseball polls; the National College Baseball Writers’ Association dropped the Tar Heels to seventh this week after falling from the top spot last week.
However, the coaches still think highly of the top-scoring team in the land. Though the pitching staff has dropped to fifth in its team earned run average with a still-impressive 2.44, the offense has not slowed down. The Tar Heel bats are bringing in an average of 8.5 runs per game.
UNC head coach Mike Fox says when it all comes down to it, you can leave the numbers behind.
“Potential is potential, as they say,” Coach Fox says. “That’s how coaches think. We’ve still got to go get it done on the field, but what we’ve done to this point has been exciting to watch. Our players have just been ready to play every single game, and we do have a good club, but the ball’s bounced our way at times.”
Virginia’s a high-scoring team as well. The Cavaliers are fourth in the country in runs scored, averaging just more than eight runs per contest. The UVA pitching staff is also quite strong throwing an ERA .55 points higher than UNC at 2.99.
Coach Fox says those numbers are not to be takeen for granted.
“Virginia’s going to run three pitchers out there against us who are as good as we’ve faced all year,” Coach Fox says. “They’re known for their pitching, and their numbers are as equal or better than ours in that regard. It’s going to be a classic matchup between two teams that are very, very similar.”
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday’s contests feature the top two teams in the Coastal Division with Carolina holding a two-game lead. One win by the Tar Heels guarantees the outright division crown as Monday’s contest against Florida State will not count as a conference game. UNC Head Coach Mike Fox said the addition of FSU was made since both teams had an open slot and the Seminoles were going to be in town practicing for the ACC tournament next week which will be held at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. You can hear all the action live on WCHL and here immediately following the WCHL Evening News with Aaron Keck.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/consecutive-coastal-crowns-up-for-grabs/
CHAPEL HILL – UNC Athletics announced Thursday that its baseball team will add a contest against Florida State next Monday to make up for the cancelled game against N.C.State last week.
The addition makes for a busy final 11 days of the regular season before the ACC championship begins Wednesday the 22nd. The Tar Heels travel to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech this weekend and return home to face the Appalachian State Mountaineers this upcoming Tuesday. UNC will host Virginia Thursday through Saturday at Boshamer Stadium and then close out the regular season against FloridaState.
FSU is currently tied with N.C.State for the Atlantic Division lead. This weekend that tie will be broken during with a three-game series between the two schools in Raleigh.
The addition of the game extends the time frame in which Carolina can secure the Coastal Division title outright. Now with seven games remaining, Carolina needs to win four to guarantee the outright crown.