North Carolina extended its winning streak to a season-high 10 games Friday night, taking down rival North Carolina State, 7-2.
Wolfpack lefthander Sean Adler held the Tar Heels scoreless through five innings, but a two-run homer from third baseman Kyle Datres (his sixth of the season) gave UNC a 2-1 lead and woke up the bats.
The Tar Heels went on to score three runs in the seventh, and two more in the eighth inning, with catcher Cody Roberts hitting his second home run of the season, and shortstop Logan Warmoth going 4-for-4.
“(Warmoth has) made himself into just a sensational player,” coach Mike Fox said. “Go back to his freshman year and they're just so much different. It’s night and day from him in the batter’s box as a freshman to this year.”
Warmoth sprayed the ball all over the field Friday night, singling to left center in the first, singling to right in the third and beating out an infield single in the sixth.
Maybe his best showing came in the bottom of the seventh, when he didn't bite on two curveballs from Cody Beckman before driving a third into right center, plating freshman first baseman Michael Busch.
“I had a good feeling when he threw that first one in there, but I told myself I want to see one first,” Warmoth said. “It was a good one to hit, but I kind of had the mindset of taking it. Make him beat me with it more than once rather than just making a quick out, maybe a double play if I don’t see it well.
“Next one, I saw it up, it was a little in. I figured they were going to throw it again or they were going to try to expand the zone, so just saw the curveball up and tried to put a good swing on it, not try to do too much.”
On the mound for the Tar Heels, junior ace J.B. Bukauskas wasn’t flawless, but he had a strong rebound from his Boston College outing (4 IP, 7 R). Bukasukas tossed seven innings, allowing one run, while sitting mostly 94-95 mph with his fastball in the first few frames before dropping down to 93-94 in sixth and seventh.
He scattered four hits and struck out six batters—all via his slider—while walking two and hitting one. His best sequence came in the fifth inning when he struck out the side on 14 pitches, getting four swings and misses on the slider.
“It definitely feels good to bounce back (from the Boston College start),” Bukauskas said. “It’s really nice. Any time we’re playing State, you know you’re going to have a good game, good crowd. And the atmosphere is fun, so it’s definitely big to get the first one out of the way.”
UNC will give Luca Delatri (3-2, 2.48) the ball on Saturday to try and secure the series victory. The Wolfpack will counter with lefthander Brian Brown (1-0, 3.13).
“These games are generally going to be close,” Fox said, “but we’ve been playing with a lot of confidence. Hopefully that will continue.”