ACC defensive player of year Honeycutt still day-to-day; all 26 suspended UNC players now available

By R.L. Bynum

CHAPEL HILL — The bad news for North Carolina headed into the ACC tournament this week is that star center fielder Vance Honeycutt still is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. The good news is that Honeycutt is ACC defensive player of the year, and all of the Tar Heels have served the suspensions that the NCAA doled out in the wake of the incident in the Gardner-Webb game.

UNC (33–21) opens round-robin play Tuesday at 3 p.m. against Georgia Tech (30–24) at Durham Bulls Athletic Park (ACC Network), with junior right-hander Max Carlson (4–2, 6.20) starting for UNC against Jackets right-handed redshirt sophomore Ben King (6–1, 3.21 ERA).

When the news of the suspensions came out, Carolina would only say that multiple players would have to each serve one-game suspensions. UNC coach Scott Forbes revealed the number Monday, which was much more than most would have guessed.

“They’re over, finally, that’s 26 players over five or six games. We dealt with it, and that included the N.C. State series,” said Forbes, whose team has lost four in a row after falling Tuesday at No. 7 Coastal Carolina and getting swept over the weekend at No. 6 Clemson. “Obviously, we didn’t suspend many for that [N.C. State] series. We felt like that was a really big series for us, as all of them are. Most of the suspensions were between Coastal and Clemson.”

Some players did serve suspensions during the three-game home sweep May 11–13 against N.C. State, which is also when Honeycutt’s issues emerged.

“It aggravated itself a little bit on Friday against N.C. State, and then I noticed it when he was running the bases and how he was moving pretty gingerly at the end of the game on Saturday,” Forbes said. “It just hasn’t healed yet.”

Honeycutt leaves a huge void in the lineup, but in his absence, Mac Horvath has filled in nicely defensively at center field. Horvath has the skills to start in center field for many other schools that don’t have an elite outfielder such as Honeycutt, who had a doctor’s appointment on Monday.

“I’m waiting to hear from the doctor, from Vance and our [athletic] trainer,” Forbes said. “We’ll just go from there. I don’t know if he’ll play [Tuesday]. But he is day-to-day, so he could.”

Forbes said that it’s hard to quantify all of the intangibles that the Tar Heels lack without Honeycutt.

“He’s a lead-by-example guy,” Forbes said. “His skill set is his skill set, so you’re not going to just grab a Vance Honeycutt out of your dugout, it just doesn’t happen. You don’t get to coach many Vance Honeycutts.

“Him being an elite center fielder, he changes the game defensively,” Forbes said. “But he also has the speed offensively and the power. You just hope that you can get somebody in there defensively, where you don’t suffer too much. The bat, that’s hard to replace.”

If Honeycutt can’t play Tuesday, the Tar Heels just hope he’s available for Thursday’s 3 p.m. game against a red-hot No. 12 Virginia team (44–11), the Coastal Division champion that has won eight consecutive games. Junior right-hander Jake Knapp (4–3, 5.11 ERA) is scheduled to start that game for the Tar Heels.

Honeycutt ranked third in the ACC in base on balls (49) and fourth in stolen bases (19). He finished second on the team in home runs (12), runs (51) and steals behind Horvath.

“It’s definitely a little bit tricky,” Horvath said of playing without Honeycutt. “He can impact the game in so many different ways [with] his speed, power. He can flip the game pretty quickly, but we’ve got a lot of depth on this team. So we’re just gonna keep grinding it out until he’s ready to go.”

Outfielder Patrick Alvarez returning after fracturing his left hamate bone has helped that depth, and he’s come up with some huge hits. He had the big triple in UNC’s come-from-behind win in the opener of the N.C. State series and hit a three-run homer at Clemson last weekend.

Horvath played 16 games in right field this season for before Honeycutt’s injury and got plenty of outfield experience last summer for Bourne in the Cape Cod League.

“I’ve always felt pretty comfortable out there,” Horvath said. “I was hoping the day would never come that I play center field here because we have the best center fielder in the country.”

Although the ACC named Honeycutt defensive player of the year Monday, he didn’t make first-team All-ACC or any of his teammates.

Junior second baseman Jackson Van De Brake made second team, Honeycutt made third team and redshirt freshman outfielder Casey Cook made the ACC All-Freshman team.

ACC postseason honors

Player of the Year — Kyle Teel, Virginia, Jr., C
Pitcher of the Year — Rhett Lowder, Wake Forest, Jr., RHP
Freshman of the Year — Cam Cannarella, Clemson, Fr., OF
Defensive Player of the Year — Vance Honeycutt, North Carolina, So., OF
Coach of the Year — Tom Walter, Wake Forest 
All-ACC First Team
Billy Amick, Clemson, So., DH/UT
Cam Cannarella, Clemson, Fr., OF
Alex Mooney, Duke, So., SS
Stephen Reid, Georgia Tech, Jr., OF
Yohandy Morales, Miami, Jr., 3B
Andrew Walters, Miami, So., RP
Jake Gelof, Virginia, Jr., 3B
Ethan O’Donnell, Virginia, Jr., OF
Griff O’Ferrall, Virginia, So., SS
Kyle Teel, Virginia, Jr., C
Jack Hurley, Virginia Tech, Jr., OF
Josh Hartle, Wake Forest, So., SP
Justin Johnson, Wake Forest, Jr., 2B
Nick Kurtz, Wake Forest, So., 1B
Rhett Lowder, Wake Forest, Jr., SP
Sean Sullivan, Wake Forest, So., SP 
All-ACC Second Team
Chris Flynn, Boston College, Gr., SP
Caden Grice, Clemson, Jr., SP
James Tallon, Duke, Fr., RP
Jack DeLeo, Georgia Tech, Jr., OF
Angelo Dispigna, Georgia Tech, Sr., OF
Jackson Finley, Georgia Tech, So., DH/UT
Carson Liggett, Louisville, So., SP
CJ Kayfus, Miami, Jr., 1B
Dominic Pitelli, Miami, Jr., SS
Gage Ziehl, Miami, So., SP
Mac Horvath, North Carolina Jr., OF
Jackson Van De Brake, North Carolina, Jr., 2B
Jacob Cozart, NC State, So., C
Aidan Tyrell, Notre Dame, Gr., SP
Tommy Hawke, Wake Forest, So., OF
Brock Wilken, Wake Forest, Jr., 3B 
All-ACC Third Team
Travis Honeyman, Boston College, Jr., OF
Joe Vetrano, Boston College, Jr., 1B
Cooper Ingle, Clemson, Jr., C
Jackson Baumeister, Florida State, So., SP
Kristian Campbell, Georgia Tech, Fr., 2B
Christian Knapczyk, Louisville, Jr., SS
Blake Cyr, Miami, Fr., 2B
Zach Levenson, Miami, Jr., OF
Vance Honeycutt, North Carolina, So., OF
LuJames Groover III, N.C. State, Jr., 3B
Kyle Hess, Pitt, Gr., OF
Ethan Anderson, Virginia, So., 1B
Connelly Early, Virginia, Jr., SP
Brian Edgington, Virginia, Gr., SP
Carson DeMartini, Virginia Tech, So., DH/UT
Seth Keener, Wake Forest, Jr., RP
Camden Minacci, Wake Forest, Jr., RP
*17 players on the third team due to a tie in the voting
All-ACC Freshman Team
Cam Cannarella, Clemson, OF
Andrew Fischer, Duke, INF
James Tallon, Duke, RP
Cam Smith, Florida State, 3B
Kristian Campbell, Georgia Tech, 2B
Blake Cyr, Miami, 2B
Casey Cook, North Carolina, OF
Dominic Fritton, N.C. State, SP
Cannon Peebles, N.C. State, C
Eli Serrano III, N.C. State, 1B
Brody Donay, Virginia Tech, C
Garrett Michel, Virginia Tech, 1B

ACC tournament

At Durham Bulls Athletic Park
Pool play
All games on ACC Network
Tuesday’s results

No. 6-seed Boston College 11, No. 10 Virginia Tech 7
No. 7 North Carolina 11, No. 11 Georgia Tech 5
No. 9 N.C. State 8, No. 5 Duke 7, 11 innings
Wednesday’s results
No. 12 Pittsburgh 9, No. 8 Notre Dame 5
No. 2 Virginia 15, No. 11 Georgia Tech 1, 7 innings
No. 3 Clemson 14, No. 10 Virginia Tech 5
Thursday’s results
No. 1 Wake Forest 10, No. 12 Pittsburgh 2
No. 7 North Carolina 10, No. 2 Virginia 2
No. 4 Miami 4, No. 9 N.C. State 2
Friday’s results
No. 3 Clemson 4, No. 6 Boston College 1
No. 4 Miami 7, No. 5 Duke 6
No. 1 Wake Forest 7, No. 8 Notre Dame 5
Saturday’s semifinals
No. 3 Clemson 10, No. 7 North Carolina 4
No. 4 Miami 7, No. 1 Wake Forest 2
Sunday’s championship at Durham Bulls Athletic Park
No. 3 Clemson 11, No. 4 Miami 5
Pool A
Wake Forest 2–0
Pittsburgh 1–1
Notre Dame 0–2
Pool B
North Carolina 2–0
Virginia 1–1
Georgia Tech 0–2
Pool C
Clemson 2–0
Boston College 1–1
Virginia Tech 0–2
Pool D
Miami 2–0
N.C. State 1–1
Duke 0–2

(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


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