CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Mac Horvath and Alberto Osuna each drove in two runs giving North Carolina to a 7-4 series opening win over No. 25 East Carolina Friday afternoon at Boshamer Stadium. With the win the Tar Heels improve to 5-0 while the Pirates fell to 1-4.
UNC jumped out to an early 5-0 lead through three innings and held off late rallies by ECU for their fifth-straight win to open the 2022 campaign. Vance Honeycutt’s leadoff home run in the first got the Tar Heels off to an early 1-0 lead. Osuna’s solo blast to left field in the second added to their lead before they scored three more in the third. Osuna had a sac fly and with one out, Reece Holbrook plating Tomas Frick. They would add another run on an ECU wild pitch for the early five-run lead.
Brandon Schaeffer (2-0) earned the win surrendering one run (earned) on four hits with a walk and five strikeouts. Caden O’Brien notched his first save of the season getting one out in the ninth (strikeout) leaving Pirates stranded on the corners. In all, the Tar Heels used three arms to bridge the gap to O’Brien getting outings from Gage Gillian (1.1 IP, 1 R, 3 Ks), Kyle Mott (1.2 IP, 1 R, 4 Ks) and Shawn Rapp (0.2 IP, 1 R, 1 K).
Garrett Saylor (0-2) took the loss giving up four runs (all earned) on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 2.1 innings. ECU would use five arms in relief in Wyatt Lunsford-Shenkman (0.2 IP, 1 H), Bradley Wilson (3.0 IP, 2 Ks), Merritt Beeker (0.1 IP, 1 R), Skylar Brooks (0.2 IP, 1 R) and Ben Terwilliger (1.0 IP, 2 Ks).
Bryson Worrell’s first home run of the season, a two-run shot to straight away centerfield, put the Pirates on the board in the sixth cutting the lead to 5-2. Lane Hoover, who tallied a team-best four hits, reached for the third time in the game starting the stanza and chasing Schaeffer from the contest. On Gillian’s first pitch offering with Hoover standing on first, Worrell crushed his 21st career home run.
Horvath added two more runs for the Tar Heels on his two-run homer to left field scoring Angel Zarate in front of him for a 7-2 advantage in the seventh stanza.
ECU would plate two runs in the ninth capping the scoring at 7-4. Cam Clonch belted his first career home run with a solo shot to right field to start the frame. With two outs, Hoover collected his fourth hit (all singles) on a bunt to second then took third on Worrell’s base hit back up the middle. The second throwing error of the game by Danny Serretti allowed Joey Berini to reach first and score Hoover.
ECU and UNC will be back in action on Saturday, Feb. 26 for game two of the series which will be held at Bryson Field inside Boshamer Stadium. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. (EST) and will be streamed on ACCNX.