Horvath’s two HRs, 7 RBI power UNC to much-needed win over Hokies

By R.L. Bynum

Scoreless in the previous 13 innings, Carolina needed a spark to break out of an offensive funk.

Enter Mac Horvath.

The junior third baseman swung so hard that he lunged over the plate during his backswing. His fourth-inning drive went 416 feet, well over the left-field fence, for a grand slam and flipped the Tar Heels’ fortunes in a game they had to have.

Horvath belted two home runs and drove in seven in a 12–8 victory at English Field in Blacksburg, Va., to snap a five-game ACC losing streak. After only five hits in the series opener, UNC collected 14 Saturday afternoon.

Carolina (27–16, 10–11 ACC), which lost Friday’s opener 7–0, faces the Hokies (25–15, 11–11) in the series finale at 7 p.m. Saturday (ACC Network).

One inning after that blast off Virginia Tech pitcher Drue Hackenberg, Horvath hit a 426-foot three-run blast to left field off the Hokies ace in the eight-run fourth. That was the most UNC runs in an inning this season.

Horvath’s fourth two-homer game of the season gave him 18 homers for the season. His 41 career homers are the fourth-most in program history. His big day came two games after a two-homer, eight-RBI effort in Tuesday’s 18–2 home victory over UNCW. He went 3 for 6 and also doubled.

Hackenberg (loser, 4–5) lasted a season-low 3⅔ innings and gave up eight runs (tied for a season-high) runs.

UNC redshirt freshman left-hander Dalton Pence started for the second time this week. He struck out four, giving up four hits and one run in two innings against UNCW. In his first career weekend start Saturday, he threw three innings, yielding three hits and three runs with a career-high five strikeouts and retired the last 11 batters he faced.

In his second relief appearance since being taken out of the starting rotation, Max Carlson (winner, 3–1) struck out the side in the fourth inning but gave up three fifth-inning runs.

Carolina reliever Kevin Eaise pitched 3⅓ innings, giving up four hits, two runs, four walks and two strikeouts. He induced a ground out to escape a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the eighth inning.

After he gave up two runs in the ninth inning, right-hander Matt Poston came on with two on and two outs. After issuing a walk to load the bases, Poston struck out Gehrig Ebel to end the game and pick up his third save of the season.

Sophomore left fielder Chad Holbrook hit a two-run single in the big fourth inning.

Hokies reliever Peter Sakellaris silenced UNC’s bats with 5⅓ four-hit shutout relief innings to end the game, including striking out Horvath twice.

NOTES — Redshirt freshman Casey Cook reached base for the 32nd consecutive game, the second-longest streak by a UNC freshman since 1999. … Horvath passed Sean Farrell, Jarrett Shearin, Cookie Massey and Scott Johnson on the UNC career home run list, and is one behind Chad Flack’s total of 42 (2005–08), which is third. Devy Bell (57; 1984–87) and Chris Cox (49; 1990–93) lead the list. … There were 19 walks and 45 baserunners in the game. … UNC entered Saturday night’s game 82–32–2 all-time against the Hokies, including 32–16 in Blacksburg.

UNC 12, Virginia Tech 8

(current rank)
17Friday10–8 LSeton HallHome0–1
18Saturday11–2 WSeton HallHome1–1
19Sunday4–2 WSeton HallHome2–1
21Tuesday14–2 WRadfordHome3–1
22Wed.10–0 WLongwoodHome4–1
24Friday6–5 LNo. 15 East CarolinaGreenville4–2
26Sunday6–5 LNo. 15 East CarolinaHome4–3
28Tuesday10–4 WVCUHome5–3
1Wed.14–10 WVCUHome6–3
3Friday3–2 W
11 innings
Stony BrookHome7–3
4Saturday7–5 WStony BrookHome8–3
5Sunday15–4 WStony BrookHome9–3
7Tuesday8–4 W,
5 innings
Western CarolinaHome10–3
8Wed.15–5 WPenn StateHome11–3
10Friday7–3 LNo. 11 VirginiaHome11–4,
0–1 ACC
11Saturday8–4 LNo. 11 VirginiaHome11–5,
0–2 ACC
11Saturday6–0 WNo. 11 VirginiaHome12–5,
1–2 ACC
14Tuesday16–3 WCharlotteCharlotte13–5
15Wed.16–2 WHigh PointHome14–5
17, 18Friday,
17–7 WPittsburghPittsburgh15–5,
2–2 ACC
21Tuesday6–4 WN.C. A&THome16–5
23Thursday6–3 WDukeHome17–5,
3–2 ACC
24Friday8–5 LDukeHome17–6,
3–3 ACC
25Saturday5–3 WDukeHome18–6,
4–3 ACC
28Tuesday12–7 LNo. 9 Coastal CarolinaHome18–7
31Friday10–8 WNotre DameSouth Bend, Ind.19–7,
5–3 ACC
2Sunday5–2 WNotre DameSouth Bend, Ind.20–7,
6–3 ACC
2Sunday9–1 LNotre DameSouth Bend, Ind20–8,
6–4 ACC
4Tuesday5–0 LSouth CarolinaCharlotte20–9
6Thursday8–1 WGeorgia TechAtlanta21–9,
7–4 ACC
7Friday10–6 WGeorgia TechAtlanta22–9,
8–4 ACC
7Friday8–4 LGeorgia TechAtlanta22–10,
8–5 ACC
11Tuesday10–6 WQueensHome23–10
13Thursday5–4 LNo. 8 MiamiHome23–11,
8–6 ACC
9–8 W,
11 inn.
No. 8 MiamiHome24–11,
9–6 ACC
15Saturday4–3 LNo. 8 MiamiHome24–12,
9–7 ACC
18Tuesday5–3 WCharlotteHome25–12
21Friday9–8 L,
10 inn.
Boston CollegeHome25–13,
9–8 ACC
22Saturday9–4 LBoston CollegeHome25–14,
9–9 ACC
23Sunday6–2 LBoston CollegeHome25–15,
9–10 ACC
25Tuesday18–2 WUNCWHome26–15
28Friday7–0 LVirginia TechBlacksburg, Va.26–16,
9–11 ACC
29Saturday12–8 WVirginia TechBlacksburg, Va.27–16,
10–11 ACC
29Saturday13–7 WVirginia TechBlacksburg, Va.28–16,
11–11 ACC
2Tuesday6–5 LNo. 11 CampbellHome28–17
3Wed.2–1 WNo. 15 East CarolinaGreenville29–17
9Tuesday5–4 WGardner-WebbHome30–17
11Thursday9–8 WN.C. StateHome31–17,
12–11 ACC
12Friday9–3 WN.C. StateHome32–17,
13–11 ACC
13Saturday12–2 WN.C. StateHome33–17,
14–11 ACC
16Tuesday8–6 LNo. 9 Coastal CarolinaConway, S.C.33–18
18Thursday14–7 LNo. 3 ClemsonClemson, S.C.33–19,
14–12 ACC
19Friday5–4 LNo. 3 ClemsonClemson, S.C.33–20,
14–13 ACC
20Saturday3–1 LNo. 3 ClemsonClemson, S.C.33–21,
14–14 ACC
ACC tournament
23Tuesday11–5 WGeorgia TechDurham34–21
25Thursday10–2 WNo. 11 VirginiaDurham35–21
27Saturday10–4 LSemifinal vs.
No. 3 Clemson
JuneNCAA tournament
Terre Haute Regional
2Friday5–4 LIowaTerre Haute, Ind.35–23
3Saturday5–0 WWright StateTerre Haute, Ind.36–23
4Sunday6–5 L,
13 innings
Iowa Terre Haute, Ind.36–24
Rankings according to D1Baseball

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics Communications



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s