On a Saturday in Blacksburg that had pretty much everything, the Diamond Heels swept a critical doubleheader from Virginia Tech in a pair of run-filled contests. Carolina scored 25 times across the long day of baseball.

The Tar Heels found themselves on the back foot immediately in the first game of the day, falling behind 3-0 after the first inning. Carolina wouldn’t answer until the third, but made the wait worth it: Mac Horvath took flight with the bases loaded for a go-ahead grand slam. He was back at it the very next inning with a three-run blast to amass seven RBI in just two frames of baseball. Horvath’s homer kicked off an eight-run rally by UNC in the fourth, featuring two wild pitches and a bases-loaded walk.

The rally staked Carolina to a 12-3 lead which three Tar Heel relievers were able to protect: Max Carlson picked up his third win of the season with 2.1 innings of relief, Kevin Eaise logged 3.1 innings and Matt Poston earned his third save. The home stretch wasn’t without its share of drama, though; the Hokies scored twice in the bottom of the ninth and had the tying run at the plate when the final out was recorded.

Saturday’s second game featured the same offensive fireworks and featured some between the two dugouts as well. After the Hokies’ Carson DeMartini homered in the bottom of the first, he appeared to say something toward the UNC dugout which drew the ire of catcher Tomas Frick. Frick confronted DeMartini before Carolina head coach Scott Forbes charged onto the field, appearing to argue both with the Virginia Tech dugout and the umpires. Forbes, Frick and DeMartini all stayed in the game.

Frick got his revenge in the top of the fourth with Carolina trailing 2-1. He got a chance to show off his own home run trot by launching a two-run shot over the left field fence which gave UNC the lead. Hunter Stokely added two more runs with a single in the fifth before Horvath did major damage once again in the sixth, launching his third home run of the day. Horvath’s 18 home runs, 52 RBIs and 1.145 OPS this season all are best on the team among qualified batters.

UNC scored in every inning from the third onward, and effectively shut the door on the Hokies with three runs in the top of the ninth after Virginia Tech had cut the lead to 10-7. Horvath once again had his fingerprints all over the rally, walking in one of the runs.

The Saturday sweep means Carolina wins the series in Blacksburg even after dropping Friday’s opener. It snaps a two-series losing streak and brings UNC’s ACC record back up to .500 at 11-11. The Tar Heels are 28-16 overall on the season and will not play a series next weekend, though they do face two challenging midweek games against ranked foes. Carolina will welcome No. 9 Campbell to Boshamer Stadium on Tuesday before visiting No. 12 East Carolina on Wednesday. The visit to Greenville is a make-up game from a postponement earlier this season. First pitch for Tuesday’s game against the Camels is scheduled for 6 p.m.


Featured image via UNC Baseball on Twitter

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