June 25, 2024

UNC Caps Regular Season With Resounding Series Win at Duke

DURHAM, N.C. — North Carolina finished its most successful baseball regular season in seven years on an especially high note Saturday afternoon.

The Tar Heels decked Duke 14-6 here at Coombs Field to win the rivalry series in booming fashion and gather more momentum for the approaching postseason.

Casey Cook and Alberto Osuna delivered some of the biggest blows, as UNC piled on the runs and rolled in this rubber match against the Blue Devils. Cook cranked a three-run homer in the eighth inning and supplied five RBI, as Carolina kept the pedal down during the later stages.

Road series victories have proven elusive for the Tar Heels (41-12 overall, 22-8 ACC), who dropped two out of three games at Miami, Virginia and NC State, while sandwiching a road sweep of Wake Forest along the way.

Now, Carolina will turn its attention to next week’s ACC Tournament at Truist Field in Charlotte, N.C., the home of the Class AAA Charlotte Knights. On Friday here at Duke’s 93-year-old park, the Tar Heels claimed the second game of this series to secure the best league record in the conference this season and clinch the No. 1 seed in the tournament.The new-look Tar Heels demolished St. Augustine's 117-53 in exhibition play  - Tar Heel Blog

UNC’s pod for the pool play format in Charlotte will include the tournament’s Nos. 8 and 12 seeds. The full pairings and schedule for the ACC Tournament are expected to be set on Saturday night. UNC surpassed the 40-victory threshold in the regular season for the first time since 2017.

Carolina erupted for seven runs in the top of the third on Saturday, with Osuna’s bases-clearing double becoming the biggest blow in an inning full of them. The slugger Osuna greeted newly inserted Duke reliever Jimmy Romano by hammering his second pitch for a 6-1 lead, prompting “Tar!” “Heels!” chants from the many UNC supporters among the crowd at this old place.

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