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UNC baseball’s longest day: Two wins, 10 hours and almost 1,000 pitches

UNC coach Mike Fox describes 10-hour double-header

UNC baseball coach Mike Fox talks about the 10-hour double header between UNC and Boston College on Saturday. The Tar Heels won both games and eventually swept the series.
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UNC baseball coach Mike Fox talks about the 10-hour double header between UNC and Boston College on Saturday. The Tar Heels won both games and eventually swept the series.

It was 1 p.m. on a cloudy Saturday afternoon when the first game of North Carolina and Boston College’s double-header began. At times the sun peeked around the clouds, and other times it rained.

Friday’s game was postponed due to weather.

When the second of Saturday’s two games finally ended — after 36 runs scored, 24 pitchers pitched, 22 innings played, 14 errors committed, a number of replay reviews, and nearly 1,000 pitches thrown — it was 11 p.m. The sky was dark, illuminated only by the moon.

When asked after the third game on Sunday how he felt, freshman shortstop Danny Serretti, who had 10 RBI’s in the series, shook his head and smiled.

“My body hurts,” Serretti said.

The games were so long that many of the fans at Boshamer Stadium had given up and went home. Even a few security guards and those working the concession stands packed their things and left.

In all, the two teams played 10 hours of baseball in one day.

About 30 spectators remained in the stands when the Tar Heels won on their second walk-off hit of the day. The fans still cheered loudly, perhaps just as happy that the game was finally over as they were that the home team won.

When the seventh inning started, the puck was about to drop for Game 5 between the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals. The hockey game finished before the baseball game.

“It was exhilarating, long, exhausting, frustrating, about every emotion you can have on a baseball field,” UNC coach Mike Fox said. “But obviously ecstatic at the end result.”

In both games of the double-header, UNC led Boston College heading into the ninth inning. And in both games, Boston College stormed back. The Eagles took a one-run lead in the ninth of Game 1. The Tar Heels scored to tie the game and sent it to extra innings. In both games, the Tar Heels won on a walk off hit in the bottom of the 11th inning.

North Carolina outfielder Michael Busch got the first walk off hit to win 8-7. Freshman first baseman Aaron Sabato hit a walk-off double to help the Tar Heels win the second game 11-10.

“Just to stay energized throughout the whole game was hard for the whole team,” Busch said.

Saturday’s two games likely set records that are unknown. The one record that is known, however, is that it was the first time in Carolina baseball history that both games of a double-header went into extra innings.

Fourteen hours after the second game ended, the Tar Heels and the Eagles played their third game of the series, and it wasn’t much shorter. The Tar Heels scored 12 runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, which took 45 minutes.

Eventually, UNC (30-11, 13-8 ACC) won after nearly four hours, sweeping Boston College in the three-game series.

Except this time, the sun was still out.

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