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Ahead of super regionals, UNC baseball coach Scott Forbes hopes others 'see [Christ] in me'

On April 24, the outlook for Scott Forbes’ second season as head coach of the North Carolina baseball team was bleak. The Tar Heels had just been swept in a three-game series by Virginia, their fifth consecutive series loss in ACC play. Even despite a 16-2 start to the season, an NCAA Tournament berth was far from certain.

Fast forward to today, and North Carolina is set to host a super regional against Arkansas this weekend with a chance to advance to the College World Series. The Razorbacks defeated Oklahoma State in the Stillwater Regional on Monday to punch their ticket.

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North Carolina’s path back to national contention began with 11 wins in the final 13 games of the regular season, followed by four more victories to capture the ACC Tournament title. The reward was a No. 10 national seed and the opportunity to host a regional.

The Tar Heels then lost their second game of the Chapel Hill Regional to VCU, meaning they had to beat Georgia and VCU on Sunday and then VCU again on Monday to advance. They did just that, giving Forbes his first trip to the super regionals after taking over for longtime head coach Mike Fox in 2020.

“Man, to come out of the loser’s bracket like that is a telltale of this team,” Forbes said after Monday’s 7-3 victory, according to CBS17.com. “It doesn’t surprise me, nothing surprises me with this group anymore and I’m just thankful for me to be in it with them.”

It was an eventful weekend for Forbes. In the third inning of the loss to VCU on Saturday, Forbes left the dugout to plead his case to the umpires about a controversial infield fly call. He briefly left the field before returning, which violated NCAA rules and resulted in a two-game suspension.

The Tar Heels rallied in the absence of their head coach, avoiding elimination in both games of the doubleheader on Sunday. Forbes was back in the dugout on Monday and jubilant after the victory.

Forbes reflected on the weekend’s events after the win.

“I was mad at myself,” Forbes said, according to The Charlotte Observer. “I could have prevented myself from being thrown out, even though I don’t think I should have been. But I did have to think, ‘OK, this is going to be a learning experience and I sure hope I don’t have to watch us lose at home.’”

He continued later: “Sometimes it can be hard to forgive [the umpires]. But if you’re going to do it you have to do it quickly because the same guys can be on the field and sure enough I walk up today and the same two are out there on the field. I sure didn’t want that to hurt our players.”

Forbes knows a thing or two about forgiveness. As a professing Christian, Forbes seeks to do the will of the Lord and, when he messes up, he trusts in his Heavenly Father to forgive him and cleanse him of all unrighteousness.

“My faith in Christ impacts everything I do as a coach,” Forbes said in a Q&A in the Spring 2022 edition of Sports Spectrum Magazine. “I try my best to make every decision through Him and coach so that others will hopefully see Him in me daily.”

Forbes admits there is a lot of pressure to win at all costs while coaching Division-I baseball, but he reminds himself often that he has much to be grateful for. He can rest in the Holy Spirit to lead him and provide for him, just like his favorite Bible passage John 14:15-18 says.

“This verse is so powerful to me because growing up no one really taught me who the Holy Spirit was and how that worked,” Forbes told Sports Spectrum. “To me, knowing I have the Holy Spirit living inside me as a compass and counselor gives me so much assurance that the Lord will guide me daily if I will just ask Him to.”

This weekend, Forbes will seek to honor Christ with his coaching and leadership as he seeks his first ever trip to the College World Series. Game 1 of the Chapel Hill Super Regional is scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. ET.

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