CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – You never forget your first anything. People always remember their first car, their first home and first year UNC head baseball coach Scott Forbes will never forget his first win as skipper of the Tar Heels.
“The biggest thing for me today was how happy I was for our guys. After not playing for so long and being able to see the joy in their eyes was very special,” said coach Forbes. “I played and I know how much was taken away from our team. To be able to all be out there together and to see them compete was the biggest thing for me today.”
It may have been a cold day on the diamond but his team brought some hot bats to the plate especially Caleb Roberts. In the first inning the sophomore right fielder drilled an RBI single to left-center to drive in the game, seasons first run. He was just warming up. In the 3rd inning he led off and took the first pitch he saw for a ride over the wall in right. A solo home run, the first of his career, made it a 3-0 game but he wasn’t finished. In the 4th he came up with 2 on and again on the first pitch sent it high enough to bring rain and far enough down the line in right to let him saunter around the bases for his second home run of the day. A one-man wrecking crew Roberts finished the day 3-for-5 with five RBI.
“When the season got cut short, I had only played in three games. Now that I am older and have been here for two seasons, I have been able to slow the game and I believe my approach has gotten a lot better at the plate, “said Roberts after the game. “We knew that he could throw off-speed pitches early in counts so when I saw one, I was able to put a good swing on it.”
Roberts’ five RBI were the most by a Tar Heel on opening day since Chris Maples and Adam Greenburg had six and five, respectively, in the 2001 opener against James Madison.
His teammate Tyler Causey hit his second career homer in the 5th inning giving UNC more than enough offense to take home the 8-1 victory.
UNC got a masterful performance on the mound as well from redshirt sophomore Austin Love. In his first career start the Salisbury, NC native was absolutely perfect. He threw 6 hitless innings tying a career high with nine strikeouts.
“He set the tone for us today,” said coach Forbes. “We talk all the time about pitching and defense and when he throws the ball like he did today, we’re going to have a chance to win every game.”
If he deals like he did today they will win every game he pitches. If only they could save some of the offense for later in the season. The same two teams go at it again Saturday afternoon. First pitch is set for 2 pm.