Shortstop Danny Serretti made the form of joking acknowledgment after North Carolina’s 4-1 loss to Arkansas in Recreation 1 of the NCAA baseball event Super Regional on Saturday that may solely come from familiarity.
The Tar Heels, as they have been per week in the past within the regional, are going through elimination after dropping the opening recreation. Carolina now has to beat the Razorbacks on Sunday at 1 p.m., and once more in a decisive Recreation 3 on Monday to earn a berth within the Faculty World Collection. However Seretti introduced a little bit of levity to their scenario.
“We were kind of joking about it, like nothing’s been easy this year,” Serretti mentioned. “So, it was probably always gonna be three games. But it’s baseball. You can’t win every day and today they beat us so we’re gonna back out there tomorrow and try to get a win.”
The Heels should do one thing that’s no laughing matter with a purpose to declare certainly one of eight spots within the CWS in Omaha, Neb. Because the NCAA tailored its present format for the event in 1999, UNC has by no means superior out of a Super Regional with out successful the primary recreation of the collection.
Every of their seven journeys to Omaha this century have come after successful the primary recreation. In 2003 and once more in 2019, the Heels have been knocked out by South Carolina and Auburn, respectively, after they dropped Recreation 1. The loss to Auburn additionally was the final time they hosted a Super Regional.
Carolina’s not beholden to historical past although after making its personal final week. The Heels had by no means gained three straight video games to win a regional both within the event’s present format — till they did it in opposition to Georgia and Virginia Commonwealth.
UNC coach Scott Forbes mentioned he “firmly believe(s) this group can do anything.” His stance was solely strengthened after watching them win two elimination video games final week whereas he served a suspension that stemmed from being ejected in opposition to Hofstra.
Forcing a Recreation 3 in opposition to Arkansas doesn’t appear so daunting when the Heels have been simply in the identical scenario per week in the past in opposition to VCU.
“This is just another block in the road that we’ve had and we talked to our guys about the importance of having perspective and living in the moment,” Forbes mentioned. “Even if we didn’t win that game today, I challenge them all the time. You have to have the same approach every day in this game. We’re realistic. We know what’s at stake.”
The Heels sat at 8-13 within the ACC after being swept in a collection at Virginia. However they reeled off wins in seven of their final 9 league video games. They hadn’t even certified for the 12-team ACC event headed into their closing common season collection in opposition to Florida State. However their collection sweep of the Seminoles catapulted them into the postseason.
They claimed the ACC event crown, basically successful 4 consecutive elimination video games.
“I feel like we’ve been playing with our backs against the wall for as long as I can remember,” Serretti mentioned. “So we’re ready for it. If any team is gonna do it, it’s gonna be this one.”
To take action, Carolina hitters must have extra success in opposition to Arkansas pitching than they did in opposition to Recreation 1 starter Connor Noland.
UNC entered the sport having been held to at least one run or scoreless a mixed thrice this season. And none of these video games got here through the Heels’ present run of successful 21 of their final 25 video games.
Heart fielder Vance Honeycutt’s solo homer within the backside of the eighth to set a program single-season document of 25 stored them from being shut out. However Forbes mentioned he like their method to the plate.
“If you really know the game of baseball, as good as Nolan was, top to bottom, we only struck out eight times and he had an elite pitch,” Forbes mentioned. “So we won’t change anything. Our guys looked great in the box, they just couldn’t get that big hit.”
The Heels consider that may change on Sunday. The one factor they’ve all taken from the previous month is come from behind.
“Like Danny said before, our backs have been against the wall,” mentioned beginning pitcher Max Carlson, who took the loss. “I don’t think anyone’s worried. We’re just going to come back tomorrow and get to Game 3.”