UNC baseball wins opener over Xavier, 12-3

By  | 

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (UNC) — No. 5 North Carolina extended its nations best home winning streak to 19 games after defeating Xavier 12-3 on Friday night in the 2019 season opener. Freshman Will Sandy picked up the win for the Heels after going 4.2 innings pitched, only allowing one hit and giving up no runs while striking out five batters. Sandy is the first freshman to earn the win in a season opener since Michael Morin since George Washington on February 19, 2010.

Ike Freeman also had a standout day in the season opener going 4-for-5 at the plate with a solo home run and tying his career high with four RBI. Freeman's four hits are the most by a player in a season opener since Dustin Ackley had four against Florida Atlantic on Feb. 22, 2008. Freeman's four RBIs are also the most by a Tar Heel in a season opener since Seth Williams had four in that same game against FAU.

KEY MOMENTS
• With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the first, Luca Dalatri struck out back-to-back Xavier batters to keep the game scoreless.
• In his first collegiate at bat, Aaron Sabato singled to right field to drive in the first run of the year and his first career RBI for the 1-0 Carolina lead.
• Ike Freeman hit the first home run of the 2019 season with a solo shot over the left field fence in the first inning to give the Heels a 3-1 lead.
• In the top of the third with runners on second and third base, a ball hit up the middle was misplayed by Ashton McGee as Xavier tied the game, 3-3.
• Freshman Caleb Roberts doubled to left field in the bottom of the third put two runners in scoring position for Freeman who followed with a single to give UNC a 4-3 lead.
• With the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning, Freeman lined a single to left field to drive in two Tar Heels and increase the lead 9-3.
• With the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th, Sabato lined a double off the wall to score two more runners to give the Heels a 11-3 lead.

NOTABLES
• Ike Freeman hit the first home run of the 2019 season with a solo shot over the left field fence in the first inning.
• With Freeman's first inning home run, he became the 17th player to homer in a season opener during the Mike Fox era.
• Freshman LHP Will Sandy retired 10 straight batters between the 4th and 7th innings after coming on in relief of Gianluca Dalatri.
• Freshman LHP Will Sandy picked up the win for the Tar Heels in his first collegiate appearance after going 4.2 IP, 1 H, O R, O ER, 3 BB, 5 K.
• Sandy is the first freshman to earn the win in a season opener since Michael Morin since George Washington on February 19, 2010.
• Ike Freeman went 4-for-5 with a solo home run and tied a career high with 4 RBI, which he also accomplished on March 18 against Pitt in 2018.
• Freeman's four hits are the most by a Carolina player in a season opener since Dustin Ackley had four on Feb. 22, 2008 against FAU.
• Freeman's four RBI are the most in a season opener since Seth Williams had 4 RBI on Feb. 22, 2008 against FAU.
• Freshman Roberts and Sabato combined to go 3-7 with two runs scored, three RBI and two doubles in the three and four hole of the lineup.
• Freshman Sandy and Austin Love combined to go 5.2 IP and only surrendered two hits while striking out seven and not conceding a run.
• The 12 runs scored in the season opener are the most for Carolina since they scored 13 in a 13-3 against VMI in 2009.
• With the win, UNC now extends the nations longest home winning streak to 19 games.

Pitcher Records
UNC, Will Sandy (1-0)
Xavier Conor Grammes (0-1)

UP NEXT
• The No. 5-ranked Tar Heels will be back in action against Xavier at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16.