Hokies Get Out Slugged By UNC, Tarheels Win 13-7 (4-29-23)
By: Joey Raymond
Headline Photo Credit: Katie Lovell-LMS Network
BLACKSBURG, VA-Game two of a massive double header where the Hokies and Tar Heels are ready to do battle. The Hokies snagged a big game-one win against the Tar Heels 7-0 off of a stellar start from Anthony Arguelles. He went 7.1 innings of shutout baseball, racking up seven strikeouts en route to the win. The Tar Heels just couldn’t seem to piece anything together and even though they gathered up five hits, nothing came of it. The Hokies and Tar Heels will open up this game in front of a near-capacity crowd at English Field. Which is an impressive turnout considering the skies are gray and gloomy. It doesn’t scream baseball weather here in Blacksburg.
The first bit of action in this game we see comes in the bottom of the first when we see Carson DeMartini hit a moonshot homer over the scoreboard. After that Carson made several gestures towards the Tar Heel dugout, which caused North Carolina to leave their bench in disgust. Both managers come out and argue with the umpire as “Let’s go Hokies” chants rain down on them. After several minutes of deliberation, the umpires meet and decide to play on, after issuing warnings to both sides. This rattles UNC pitcher Jake Knapp, who issues three straight walks immediately after the break. This loads the bases for the Hokies, who can’t capitalize as Eddie Eisert strikes out, ending the excitement in the first.
As the chaos that was the bottom of the first ends, we don’t see the next bit of movement on the scoreboard until the third inning. The Tar Heels scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Horvath, bringing us to a tie-ball game at one apiece. That’s all the Tar Heels would score in the third though, which brings us to the bottom of the third. The Hokies rebuttal UNC’s run-scoring third by hitting another home run. This time it comes off the bat of Chris Cannizzaro. The ball traveled deep into the Blacksburg night as the Hokies snagged the 2 to 1 lead. Then DeMartini gets walked, and chirps at the catcher again, causing the coach of UNC to come out and discuss with the home plate umpire. Nothing further comes of this, as we play on at the bottom of the third.
Our next motion on the scoreboard comes quickly after in the top of the fourth inning when UNC batter Tomas Frick hits a rocket into the left field over the Virginia Tech pitching lab. This also drove in Osuna, who had gotten on base earlier in the inning after getting walked on five pitches. This massive momentum-shifting home run gives the Tar Heels the lead, 3 to 2. The Heels took the advantage by shutting out the Hokies in the bottom of the fourth and then scoring again in their half of the fifth on a two-run single from Hunter Stokley where Mac Horvath and Vance Honeycutt scored. The Hokies answer back in the bottom of the fifth inning off of a Garrett Michel solo home run, bringing themselves a little closer. Tar Heels still lead at the end of the fifth though, 5 to 3.
As we move into the sixth inning the Tar Heels start to pull away. The Heels snagged a single from Jackson Van De Brake and Vance Honeycutt. After that, Mac Horvath came up to the plate and demolished a baseball down the left field line that I’m pretty sure still hasn’t landed yet and the Tar Heels got three runs richer. At this point in the game, the Heels are dominating as they lead 8-3 on the Hokies. North Carolina continues to pull away in the seventh inning scoring a run on a ground-rule double from Casey Cook. The Hokies try to mount a comeback in the bottom of the inning as Chris Cannazaro singles, followed by a home run from Carson DeMartini that sneaks over the centerfield wall to bring the Hokies back within four. The Tar Heels still lead it at this point in the game 9-5.
As we enter the eighth inning the Tar Heels try to put the pedal down and seal this win. They start by snagging two walks, and then a massive single from Tomas Frick to bring in a run, bringing the lead to 10-5. The Tar Heels struggle to muster up anymore in the eighth frame, however, so the score stays where it is as the Hokies take their turn. The Hokies do take advantage of the opportunity in the bottom of the eighth inning by getting a single followed by two straight walks to load the bases. Chris Cannazaro comes up and walks, bringing in a run and bringing up the red-hot Carson DeMartini. You can feel the energy in the ballpark as the at-bat goes on. Carson smacks a slow grounder to the shortstop and the Hokies score one, bringing the score to 10-7. They can’t make any more noise in the inning though, as the Tar Heels shut the door, sustaining their lead.
The ninth inning begins with four straight Tar Heel walks. They’re trying to slam the door on the Hokies and put this game to bed. North Carolina gets a sacrifice fly off the bat of Honeycutt, followed by a wild pitch which brings in another run. After that, we see the Hokies throw two more wild pitches bringing in yet another run for the Tar Heels. At this point in the game, English Field has emptied almost entirely. The Hokies can’t muster up any offense on their half of the inning and so the game score stays right where we last left it, as the Tar Heels beat the Hokies 13-7.
Overall this was a hard-fought game until the later innings when North Carolina took control and never looked back. The offense on both sides was prolific and home runs left the yard like food during the lunch rush. Both teams should be proud of how they played in the series. The Hokies won the series two games to one. As for the Hokies move on with a 25-16 record and move on to play Marshall next, on May 2nd, 2023. The Tar Heels move to 28-16 and will play Campbell on May 2nd, 2023.