UNC Seniors Spark Offense

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina picked up their 30th win of the season on Sunday as they defeated No. 5 Florida State 5-4 on Senior Day at Boshamer Stadium. Seniors Parks Jordan and Tom Zengel each drove in a run, as the offense came alive in time to give the Tar Heels a much-needed victory.

Coming into the series finale, the Tar Heels had combined for fourteen hits against the Seminoles, but had been unable to come through up with the clutch knocks when it mattered most. As a result, UNC spent the first two games of this series trying to erase significant deficits on the scoreboard.

"It was really important for us to get a lead," UNC head coach Mike said after the game. "We knew they were going to come back at some point, they score four to five runs a game. It was important for just to jump out by as many runs as we could."

On this day, however, UNC's two senior starters were keen to make sure that the team got off to a strong start. Zengel set the tone early when he lined a double into the right field corner that provided UNC with a 2-0 lead in the second inning.

"I just wanted to be able to do something to help us win," Zengel said. "We really needed to come out and get off to a good start because we really needed this game. I was happy to get a big hit there that put a run on the board early."

Two innings later, it was Jordan's turn to help add to the lead. With runners on first and second, the lefty smacked a ball up the middle for a base hit the scored Adam Pate and extend Carolina's lead to 4-0.

"We had a better approach at the plate, and for the seniors and as a team we wanted to bounce back after two losses and go out there and prove something," Jordan said after the game. "To a certain extent it meant a lot to do well in my last home game. At the same time, it's a team game, and I needed to get in there and do my job."

For a team that was desperate to pick up a victory at home against a quality opponent, while also trying to avoid a sweep, both players knew that they had to step up. By the end of the afternoon, Zengel and Jordan had combined to go 3-for-7 with pair of RBIs and two runs scored.

"If you want to measure your team, you're going to do it when your backs against the wall and our guys aren't going to quit," Fox said. "If you could script it out, that's how you'd script it out. We've all seen it in other sports…you want the senior to get up there to play a big part. I thought it was pretty special for those guys."

The 5-4 win gave Fox his sixteenth consecutive winning season and moved the Heels into the fourth in the ACC's Coastal Division (fifth overall). With UNC being a more inexperienced group, the head coach spoke about what his two senior starters have meant to the team this season.

"Leadership now is doing the right thing and making the right decisions," Fox said. "It also means getting your degree and being someone we can all hold up as consummate four year player. Parks has done everything we've asked of him and Tom Zengel is one of the most respected teammates I've coached in thirty years, so I was glad to see them do so well in their last game here."

It is also worth mentioning that underclassmen such as Chris McCue, Benton Moss, and Michael Russell may have played their final home games at UNC, depending on how the Major League Baseball Draft unfolds next month. Regardless of how that plays out, Zengel and Parks, along with senior pitcher Andrew Smith, are wrapping up their careers with 179 total victories… and counting.

 

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