No. 22 UNC sweeps doubleheader from UVA to clinch series
No. 22 North Carolina (24-12, 12-6 ACC) clinched its third-straight ACC series with a 12-5 victory over Virginia (20-16, 7-11 ACC) in the second game of Saturday’sdoubleheader. The Tar Heels evened the series earlier in the day with an 8-6 win in game one.
In its closest bid to clinch the series, Virginia mounted a late game comeback in game one. The Cavaliers rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie the game at six but the Tar Heels put together the game-winning rally with two runs in the top of the ninth.
North Carolina used three, four-run innings in the night cap to seal its second-consecutive series victory over Virginia. The Tar Heel offense racked up 15 hits and took advantage of 10 free passes and three four hit by pitches by the Virginia pitching staff.
“Certainly a tough day, they did a nice job against (Daniel) Lynch in the first three innings of game one,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “North Carolina has a really good ball club, they’re ranked in the top-25 for a reason. We didn’t get a quality start in the second game which makes it tough but we still battled and scored some runs.”
Virginia will conclude its 10-game home stand in the midweek with matchups against George Washington (April 17) and Liberty (April 18).
Game 1 | North Carolina – 8, Virginia 6
The Cavaliers were down as many as four runs early in the contest but chipped away and found themselves down 6-3 in the bottom of the eighth. Cameron Comer (Powell, Ohio) led off the inning with his sixth double of the season and scored on a batter later on a Cayman Richardson (Mechanicsville, Va.) RBI single. It was Richardson’s third hit of the game.
After a North Carolina fielding error on a possible inning-ending, double play ball, Nate Eikhoff (Bristow, Va.) and Alex Tappen (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) produced back-to-back RBI singles to tie the game at six.
The Tar Heels responded in the top of the ninth inning with hits from three of the first four batters. Ike Freeman broke the tie with a single down the left field line and Cody Roberts added an insurance run with RBI single through the right side.
Virginia starting pitcher, Daniel Lynch (Henrico, Va.) pitched into the seventh inning for the sixth-straight outing. He fanned seven batters before being relieved with one out in the eighth.
North Carolina built a 5-1 lead over the first three innings, including a three-run rally in the third. Dallas Tesser led the frame off with a solo home run, one of four North Carolina hits in the frame.
Virginia pulled within two runs the sixth inning when Richardson and Andy Weber (Aurora, Ohio) clubbed back-to-back doubles. The RBI for Weber was his 33rd of the year, tops on the team. He’d eventually come around to score on an Eikhoff RBI ground out to make the score 5-3.
Game 2 | North Carolina – 12, Virginia 5
The Cavaliers fell into an early hole after North Carolina plated four, first-inning runs. Michael Busch, the second batter of the night, started the outburst with his ninth home run of the year, a solo shot into the left field bleachers. Two of the four runs scored in the frame were unearned as the Tar Heels took advantage two Virginia fielding errors.
For the game, the Cavaliers had four fielding miscues, matching a season-high.
Freshman Brendan Rivoli (Douglassville, Pa.) drove in two of the five Cavalier runs in the contest. He got Virginia on the board in the second inning with an RBI single that scored Eikhoff. Two innings later he blasted his second home run in six games. He finished the game 2-for-5 with a home run, two RBI and a run scored.
Eikhoff was 2-for-5 with two RBI and pulled the Cavaliers within two runs with an RBI single in the third inning.
That would be as close as the Cavaliers would get in the second game. The Tar Heels capped its last two four-run rallies with run-scoring triples. Ashton McGee scored two on his second triple of the year in the fourth inning and Brandon Rally put an exclamation point on the contest with a bases clearing three-bagger in the top of the ninth.