By R.L. Bynum
The hits and the power keep coming for No. 14 North Carolina.
Against a good Penn State team, the Tar Heels took batting practice Wednesday afternoon at Boshamer Stadium, pounding out 14 hits to blow out the Nittany Lions 15–5 for their seventh consecutive victory.
“I thought we did a good job top to bottom of not giving at-bats aways,” UNC head coach Scott Forbes said. “The name of the game is what do you do when runners are on base and that’s what we want to be good at, and they did a good job today.”
Junior catcher Tomas Frick led the offensive assault with two home runs — including a fourth-inning grand slam — to drive in six runs. Frick went 3 for 4 and has hit all six of his home runs in the last 54 plate appearances.
Junior first baseman Hunter Stokely also went 3 for 4, and made it a rout in the sixth inning with a three-run homer as the Tar Heels (11–3) scored double-digit runs for the seventh time this season.
Junior designated hitter Alberto Osuna went 3 for 4 with a walk and scored three runs.
After Carolina starter Will Sandy was hit for three runs in 1⅔ innings, the bullpen only gave up one earned run the rest of the way, beginning with 1⅔ shutout innings from junior right-hander Matt Poston.
“Will was much better,” Forbes said. “It was a matchup decision on our part. When we made that change the left was hitting .460 off left-handed pitchers and Poston had been good against left-handers, and we felt like that was a big moment. I was proud of Will because he attacked and got a one-two-three-inning, and with our bullpen being fresh and those guys needing to pitch we needed to go ahead and make that change.”
Junior left-hander Nelson Berkwich (1–0) gave up a solo home run in 1⅔ innings with a strikeout to get the win.
Sophomore left-hander Dalton Pence gave up two hits and an unearned run in 1⅓ inning with two strikeouts. Freshman right-hander Matthew Matthijs fanned five with two hits in 1⅔ shutout innings and freshman right-hander Will Simmons closed out the game by retiring Penn State in order in the ninth inning.
NOTES — Carolina won its first meeting with Penn State (8–3) since 2007, and leads the all-time series 8–6. … Penn State is only the second UNC opponent with a winning record (No. 12 East Carolina, 8–3, is the other) … Carolina opens ACC play with a weekend home series Friday through Sunday against No. 17 Virginia (11–0).
No. 14 UNC 15, Penn State 5
|17||Friday||10–8 L||Seton Hall||Home||0–1|
|18||Saturday||11–2 W||Seton Hall||Home||1–1|
|19||Sunday||4–2 W||Seton Hall||Home||2–1|
|24||Friday||6–5 L||No. 8 East Carolina||Greenville||4–2|
|26||Sunday||6–5 L||No. 8 East Carolina||Home||4–3|
|4||Saturday||7–5 W||Stony Brook||Home||8–3|
|5||Sunday||15–4 W||Stony Brook||Home||9–3|
|8||Wed.||15–5 W||Penn State||Home||11–3|
|10||Friday||7–3 L||No. 5 Virginia||Home||11–4,|
|11||Saturday||8–4 L||No. 5 Virginia||Home||11–5,|
|11||Saturday||6–0 W||No. 5 Virginia||Home||12–5,|
|15||Wed.||16–2 W||High Point||Home||14–5|
|17–7 W||Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh||15–5, |
|21||Tuesday||6–4 W||N.C. A&T||Home||16–5|
|23||Thursday||6–3 W||Duke||Home||17–5, |
|24||Friday||8–5 L||Duke||Home||17–6, |
|25||Saturday||5–3 W||Duke||Home||18–6, |
|28||Tuesday||4 p.m.||No. 19 Coastal Carolina||Home||None|
|31||Friday||6 p.m.||Notre Dame||South Bend, Ind.||ESPN3|
|1||Saturday||3 p.m.||Notre Dame||South Bend, Ind.||ESPN3|
|2||Sunday||1 p.m.||Notre Dame||South Bend, Ind.||ESPN3|
|4||Tuesday||7 p.m.||No. 9 South Carolina||Charlotte||ESPN3|
|6||Thursday||6 p.m.||Georgia Tech||Atlanta||SECN+|
|7||Friday||6 p.m.||Georgia Tech||Atlanta||ESPN3|
|8||Saturday||1 p.m.||Georgia Tech||Atlanta||ACCN|
|13||Thursday||7 p.m.||No. 23 Miami||Home||ACCN|
|14||Friday||6 p.m.||No. 23 Miami||Home||ESPNU|
|15||Saturday||2 p.m.||No. 23 Miami||Home||ESPN3|
|21||Friday||6 p.m.||No. 14 Boston College||Home||ESPN3|
|22||Saturday||2 p.m.||No. 14 Boston College||Home||ESPN3|
|23||Sunday||1 p.m.||No. 14 Boston College||Home||ESPN3|
|28||Friday||7 p.m.||Virginia Tech||Blacksburg, Va.||ESPN3|
|29||Saturday||7 p.m.||Virginia Tech||Blacksburg, Va.||ACCN|
|30||Sunday||1 p.m.||Virginia Tech||Blacksburg, Va.||ESPN3|
|3||Wednesday||5 p.m.||No. 8 East Carolina||Greenville||ESPN+|
|11||Thursday||7 p.m.||N.C. State||Home||ESPN3|
|12||Friday||6 p.m.||N.C. State||Home||ACCN|
|13||Saturday||2 p.m.||N.C. State||Home||ESPN3|
|16||Tuesday||7 p.m.||Coastal Carolina||Conway, S.C.||ESPN3|
|18||Thursday||6 p.m.||Clemson||Clemson, S.C.||ESPN3|
|19||Friday||6 p.m.||Clemson||Clemson, S.C.||ESPN3|
|20||Saturday||1 p.m.||Clemson||Clemson, S.C.||ACCN|
|TBA||NCAA Super Regionals||TBA|
|TBA||College World Series||Omaha, Neb.|
Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics Communications