No. 8 UNC baseball beats Notre Dame, 7-2, to advance to ACC Championship title game
North Carolina’s No. 8 baseball team (37-19, 15-15 ACC) defeated No. 4 Fighting Irish (35-14, 16-11 ACC), 7-2, on Saturday to advance to the ACC Championship title. Game.
The start of the game was a scoreless first inning riddled with singles and walks from both programs, but UNC battled offensively to take the lead first.
In the top of the second inning, second infielder Colby Wilkerson reached first base due to picking a fielder, allowing senior Mikey Madej to sneak through home plate for the first inning of the game. Diamond Heels.
Thanks to second-year pitcher Will Sandy on the mound, Notre Dame was held to a zero score until a home run flew into left field to tie the game in the bottom of the third.
The next two innings proved to be a pitching duel, as the score was 1-1 until another home run was hit out of the park by the Fighting Irish in the bottom of the fifth inning, giving them the head.
Fortunately, senior pitcher Gage Gillian, who entered the game late in the third inning, put a stop to Notre Dame even after two bombs were sent out of the park.
North Carolina’s offense was quick to fight back after a brace from second Hunter Stokely saw Madej go home once again and tie the game.
With no runs from either team, things looked hopeless for the Diamond Heels.
With the bases loaded high in the eighth inning, the Fighting Irish retired both sophomore Johnny Castagnozzi and redshirt junior outfielder Angel Zarate.
With two out, a single was hit to the right side by second baseman Mac Horvath and brought Madej home for the third time in the game, making it 3-2 in favor of the Diamond Heels.
Next up at bat was junior shortstop Danny Serretti, who doubled to left field and put two more runs on the board for UNC, extending the team’s lead to three over Notre Dame.
The bottom of the eighth inning went by in the blink of an eye, as sophomore pitcher Davis Palermo crushed the Fighting Irish’s scoring hopes.
At the top of the ninth inning with two out, a very crucial point in the game, sophomore Johnny Castagnozzi came up to bat and hit a bloop single to bring two more runs for UNC, making it 7-2. .
Palermo stayed strong on the mound to say goodbye to the Fighting Irish after a hard-fought one-game thriller for the Tar Heels.
Who stood out?
Although defense and pitching on the mound were crucial in this game, as they have throughout the ACC championship, Madej was the glowing star of this game.
In Saturday’s game, he was the only Tar Heel to score multiple times for UNC and dominated the box. Going 4-for-4 on Saturday, Madej is now 6-for-11 in the ACC Championship.
When was it decided?
In such a home-and-away game, the game wasn’t decided until a simple review from Horvath sparked a run streak for North Carolina in the eighth inning.
That hit may only have earned a single run, but its momentum was key to the Diamond Heels’ five-run effort in the final two innings of the game.
Why is it important?
The loss not only gives UNC a ticket to the ACC Championship title game, but extends the team’s winning streak to six games.
After ending their regular season with a sweep of the Florida State Seminoles, the Tar Heels shined in the playoffs and were dominant against every ACC opponent they’ve faced since then.
When do they play next?
North Carolina will advance to the ACC Championship title game to face either NC State or Pitt on Sunday, with the game scheduled to start at 12 p.m.