After dramatic win, UNC misses chances and can’t replicate that in final game against Miami

By R.L. Bynum

CHAPEL HILL — After late-inning heroics to win the suspended game on Saturday, No. 13 North Carolina couldn’t replicate that in the series finale.

The Tar Heels won the suspended game with two late home runs, including Hunter Stokely’s 11th-inning blast to end the 9–8 11-inning game, but Miami rebounded and won 4–3 to take two of three games in the series.

After UNC (24–12, 9–7 ACC) missed a golden scoring chance in the eighth inning of the second game, it went down in order in the ninth inning as the Hurricanes (22–13, 10–8) came away with their first two road ACC wins of the season.

UNC coach Scott Forbes clearly was frustrated that his team couldn’t win both games.

“I’m more upset for the team,” he said. “That one hurts a little more. But again, it would hurt a lot more if we hadn’t found a way to win that [first] game. I also know you’ve got to be playing your best baseball at the right time. And I think we’re gonna do that.

“After losing two, I know fans aren’t going to want to hear this, but I feel like we’re in a really good place,” Forbes said. “We just have to play better. Our guys are going to compete. We have talent, we just have to play better top to bottom.”

Just like in the suspended game, the Tar Heels fell behind, this time 4–1 in the fifth inning. They staged a couple of rallies that could have been more productive.

Carolina pulled within one on Tomas Frick’s two-out, two-run bases-loaded double in the sixth, but the inning ended when Vance Honeycutt got tagged out at the plate. Vance ran through a stop sign from Forbes, who coaches third base.

“When I’m down the line, they’re on go unless I stop them,” Forbes said. “I thought I gave a stop sign. I’m going to coach myself and make sure I did. He’s so dang fast. He puts his head down and, unfortunately, we didn’t see it. I have to do a better job right there. I’ve got to just tackle him next time.”

UNC loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, but Eric Grintz — pinch-hitting for Stokely against left-handed Miami reliever Rafe Schlesinger and playing for the first time in 13 days — hit into a double play to end the threat.

Forbes said he’d make that move “10 out of 10 times” because he didn’t expect that result. He knows Stokely is hitting under .200 against left-handers, and he expected the side-winding Schlesinger to make it particularly challenging.

“When he hits the barrel and the ball’s hit hard, it’s two-hopper to the shortstop,” Forbes said. “You’re hoping Eric gets the ball in the air, and unfortunately, he didn’t.”

Frick (top photo) hit another double in the second inning, and gave UNC a lead when he scored on Johnny Castagnozzi’s groundout.

Miami seized the lead in the third inning on Lorenzo Carrier’s leadoff solo home run to left field and Dominic Pitelli’s two-run single with two outs. Carrier’s blast would have traveled 407 feet had he not hit the scoreboard.

The Canes made it 4–1 with Zach Levenson’s two-out solo home run to left field in the fifth inning.

UNC starter Jake Knapp struck out six in 4⅔ innings, but gave up five hits, four runs and walked four.

A few weeks after it seemed that the bullpen was wasting quality starts, the dynamic has shifted for UNC’s pitching staff. The Tar Heels are getting good performances from their relievers, but the starters seem to struggle to find their rhythm.

“We were in every game, and we still didn’t get length from our starters,” said Forbes, adding that he still believes in Max Carlson, Connor Bovair and Knapp. “You’ve got to play well, top to bottom when you play good teams. And we didn’t do that this weekend, and we still managed to win a game.”

NOTES — Carolina tries to rebound with a 6 p.m. Tuesday home game against Charlotte before welcoming No. 9 Boston College (24–10, 9–8) for a three-game weekend series at The Bosh starting Friday. The Eagles split the first two games of a home series with Duke, and play the third game on Sunday. … Frick has a career-high 17 doubles.

Miami 4, No. 13 UNC 3

(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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