The Diamond Heels clubbed 14 home runs in a three-game series at No. 12 Wake Forest over the weekend, and it was enough for Carolina to earn its first sweep of the Demon Deacons since 2018. Carolina has now won nine straight games overall and swept three of its four ACC series this season.

The opener on Friday night saw Casey Cook get the hit parade started with a solo home run in the top of the first to give UNC a 1-0 lead. Parks Harber began a big weekend at the plate with another solo shot in the second before Cook struck again in the same inning, this time a three-run blast. Carolina led 5-4 in the top of the seventh when Colby Wilkerson socked his first home run of the season. That insurance run proved critical in the bottom of the ninth, as the Diamond Heels committed a pair of errors with two outs then issued a bases-loaded walk. Fortunately for head coach Scott Forbes’ team, Dalton Pence finally ended things with a strikeout for a 6-5 Carolina win.

Harber would continue to swing a hot stick in Saturday’s second game, homering in each of his first two at-bats to give UNC a 2-0 lead. After the Deacons scored three runs in response, Alberto Osuna drove in the tying run on a fielder’s choice and throwing error, setting the stage once again for Harber. The Georgia transfer put Carolina back in front with his third home run of the night, becoming the first Tar Heel to hit three homers in a single game since 2002. Luke Stevenson swatted a three-run shot in the eighth and Osuna and Anthony Donofrio each drove in runs in the ninth in the 10-6 victory.

Sunday’s finale was the highest-scoring game of the series, though the teams waited until the third to start. Wake Forest took a 2-0 lead on a home run in the bottom of the inning, but Carolina had an answer in the top of the fourth. Donofrio lifted a solo shot over the fence to cut the lead in half, and then Vance Honeycutt showed off his MLB-caliber speed with a steal of home to tie the game. Osuna hammered a three-run blast in the fifth, giving Carolina a 5-2 lead, but Wake scored five runs over the next two innings to take another two-run lead at 7-5.

The scoring wasn’t nearly done. Osuna ripped an RBI double in the seventh to cut the lead in half, and Stevenson delivered a haymaker by crushing a three-run blast to put Carolina back in front. Not to be outdone, Cook added a solo home run in the eighth. UNC led 10-7.

But the Deacons tacked on three more runs against Matthew Matthijs in the bottom of the eighth, capitalizing on a fielding error in the process. With the score now 10-10 in the top of the ninth, Carolina got to work immediately: Osuna walked and was lifted for pinch runner Kaleb Cost (who also is a defensive back on the UNC football team). Cost advanced to second on a wild pitch and then to third when Vance Honeycutt reached on a fielder’s choice. That brought up Stevenson, who clubbed another three-run blast to give UNC a 13-10 lead. On the very next pitch, Gavin Gallaher sent one over the left field fence. Carolina’s 14-10 lead would hold up, as Matt Poston pitched a perfect bottom of the ninth.

In all, seven Diamond Heels went in the series. The sweep moves Carolina to 25-4 overall and 10-2 in ACC play, its best start since 2013 (when the team reached the College World Series semifinals). UNC is tied for first in the league standings with Virginia Tech, who the Diamond Heels will host at Boshamer Stadium in late April.

Next up for Carolina is another difficult road trip, as the Diamond Heels will visit No. 9 Virginia for a three-game series this coming week. UNC’s last visit to Charlottesville in 2022 resulted in three straight losses. First pitch in Thursday’s opening game against the Cavaliers is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ACC Network.


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