Two games, and two losses for the Miami Hurricanes against the UNC Tar Heels at Bryson Field at Boshamer Stadium. Due to an ominous weather forecast in Chapel Hill for Saturday’s scheduled game, the teams played a doubleheader Friday, one the Canes will want to forget.
Miami fell 4-2 in Game 1 Friday after a slow start. The Tar Heels built an early cushion though methodical, station-to-station baseball, scoring a single run in four of the first five frames during the 3 p.m. contest.
Despite falling behind 4-0, the Canes gave UNC a scare late. Down 4-2 in the ninth with two outs and runners on the corners, Alex Toral stepped to the plate, representing the go-ahead run.
And for a moment, the Miami slugger looked to be the hero. Clubbing a hanging 1-0 pitch deep to right, the ball landed just short of the wall and in the hand of Heels’ right fielder Caleb Roberts for the final out.
But the Canes had plenty of chances beforehand to change the game, to little avail. UM was just 2-10 with runners in scoring position in Game 1. They scored just two runs despite having 10 hits and a .306 average during the afternoon tilt.
A seventh inning Jordan Lala sacrifice fly got UM on the board before they loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth. With the tying run on first and Gabe Rivera at the plate, the Miami slugger lined out to third baseman Clemente Inclan who made a carefree unassisted force-out to end the frame.
In the ninth, Lala and Anthony Vilar drew a pair of walks to open the frame. With the tying run at the place once again, the Tar Heels took out relief pitcher Caden O’Brien after one and ⅔ innings in favor of Gage Gillian.
North Carolina center fielder Justice Thompson and and left fielder Dallas Tessar combined for all four early Tar Heel runs batted in. A first inning Thompson single with runners on first and second scored Angel Zarate. Thompson faced the same situation at the plate in the third and scored Colby WIlkerson with his second single of the day.
A fourth inning Tessar home run made it 3-0 Heels before the left fielder had an RBI double in the fifth, driving in Brett Centracchio from second.
Alejandro Rosario earned the loss with his five-inning outing, allowing nine hits and four earned runs. He also walked three Tar Heels and stuck out just two. Alex McFarlane threw three relief frames and allowed no hits, no runs and just one baserunner. He recorded five strikeouts while keeping UM in the game.
Leading 1-0 to start the second game was Miami, who saw third baseman Yohandy Morales hit a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Lala. Del Castillo struck out looking to retire the first inning.
The Tar Heels, nonetheless, exploded in the fifth inning off redshirt sophomore Jordan Dubberly (1-1), who remained responsible for the first five of six runs allowed, four which were earned.
North Carolina third baseman Mac Horvath belted a two-run home run after Wilkerson reached on a sacrifice bunt. Roberts then earned a five-pitch walk from reliever Spencer Bodanza.
Miami head coach Gino DiMare then turned to right-hander Andrew Walters for the final out of the fifth frame and two-thirds of the sixth. The freshman allowed three hits and one earned run and a bases-loaded walk which brought in the run to stretch the margin to 6-1 in favor of North Carolina.
Answering the surge similarly to Game 1 were the Canes. Having gone 2-for-3 in the back nine innings, center fielder Christian Del Castillo led off the seventh with a single to the left side of the infield.
After a wild pitch advanced Del Castillo to second, Toral doubled to left field on a 2-1 count to give UM its first of two RBI doubles, though the team still trailed 6-2.
With right-handed reliever Nik Pry still on the hill for North Carolina, Adrian Del Castillo laced a two-out double to left as Morales scored from first base. Christian Del Castillo then homered to score his brother, who has hit .297 this season.
Toral flew out to second base, ending the three-run eighth-inning rally, as Miami looked for the go-ahead jab in the ninth after closer Carson Palmquist took three up and sent three down in the top half.
Pinch hitting for right fielder Rivera, CJ Kayfus grounded out to second base, prior to shortstop Dominic Pitelli’s full-count walk.
Catcher Jared Thomas stepped in for Carlos Perez, though struck out swinging for Pry’s final out. Right-handed closer Gage Gillian closed the door on the series and earned his second save by fanning Lala, as Miami left the tying run on base.
The Canes struck out 14 times while hitting .188 as a whole, despite registering three two-out RBI to match the Heels.
Garnering the win for North Carolina was Shawn Rapp, his first, as the freshman pitched a season-high six frames in the 6-5 victory.
It took less than seven hours from the start of Friday’s action for UNC to officially clinch the series, and without having to throw a pitch in Game 3. Miami will have all day Saturday to reflect and salvage something from the weekend. They’ll stay in Chapel Hill for the series finale Sunday at noon, before returning home to face Florida Gulf Coast on Tuesday evening.
Austin Pert and Wyatt Kopelman reported this story.