The Tar Heels lost a significant amount of offensive firepower in the lineup when Bolt fouled a ball off his right foot last Friday. Bolt, who’s out indefinitely, is second on the team behind Colin Moran with a batting average of .392 and has constantly wreaked havoc on opposing pitchers in the cleanup spot.
To his credit, Bolt has played more like a veteran than a freshman in his first season of collegiate baseball.
North Carolina, however, is not a program built on individual players.
“We don’t focus on the guys we don’t have, we focus on the guys we do have,” UNC head coach Mike Fox said following Tuesday’s victory.
Frank, UNC’s leadoff hitter, had missed six games on the season but was looking back in form over the weekend in Blacksburg.
“It’s a spark to us,” Fox said of Frank’s return. “We needed to get him back. We got him back at the right time with Skye getting injured.”
That spark was needed against the Chanticleers.
UNC looked lacking of any offensive prowess through the first five innings of the contest. Up until that point, the Tar Heels were hitless and trailing 1-0.
“It was dull out there for a while,” Fox said. “I felt like this was the quietest I had ever heard it. Just one of those games where nothing was happening for us.”
The bottom of the sixth looked like more of the same as Matt Roberts grounded out yet another time to second base for a routine play for the first out.
Parks Jordan stepped up to the plate in the 9-hole and patiently earned a walk after battling through a full count with Coastal Carolina pitcher Austin Kerr. With one on and one out, Frank stepped to the plate. The Lexington, NC product delivered with an electrifying RBI triple that one-hopped into the wall, scoring Jordan from first.
“He was really beating us with his slider getting our lefties to roll over into double plays,” Frank said. “I made an adjustment and was able to get my hands extended and hit it in the gap.”
The crucial inning helped the Tar Heels settle in and finish out the mid-week matchup with a tough Coastal Carolina team.
Frank scored on a sacrifice fly from Moran and the Tar Heels never looked back. With the help from a Cody Stubbs solo shot and a couple of base hits from Jordan and Mike Zolk, the Tar Heels clinched the victory for their 10th-straight win.
The Tar Heels just had four hits on the night, but all four were vital in composing the outcome of this one.
“If you’re only going to get four hits then you want four to help score five runs which it basically did tonight with the walks,” Fox said.
The clutch hit by Frank was a necessity and Fox wasn’t bashful in describing the importance of the senior’s presence on this Tar Heel team.
“We need Chaz Frank,” Fox said. “We need him out there playing for us to do well.”
It only takes one swing of the bat to change the momentum of a game.
“Anytime we can get a big base hit or homerun, which we’ve done lately, it of course energizes the team to be successful and that’s what happened tonight,” Frank said.
The offensive dominance of this team may take a hit with the loss of Bolt’s bat but senior leadership, pitching and defense still reign supreme for UNC.
The next game for the Tar Heels will be Wednesday night at 6 p.m. against Elon in Boshamer Stadium.