BOX SCORE: North Carolina 4 Clemson 3
Pinch-hitter Brett Knief's two-out double in the top of the ninth
inning scored the go-ahead run and North Carolina escaped a one-out,
bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth to edge No. 20 Clemson 4-3 in
front of 4,777 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The
Tar Heels, who won the series 2-1, improved to 25-17 overall and 8-13
in the ACC. The Tigers dropped to 25-16 overall and 11-10 in ACC play.
The Tar Heels jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning,
but Clemson answered with one run in the bottom of the first and two
runs in the second. Neither team dented the scoreboard again until the
ninth inning, when pinch-hitter Ryan Graepel started the rally with a
two-out single and scored the winning run from first on Knief's double
North Carolina starter Patrick Johnson (4-3) pitched 8.1 strong
innings to earn the win. He allowed seven hits, three runs (one
earned), and three walks with six strikeouts in throwing 129 pitches.
Greg Holt pitched the final 0.2 innings to record his third save of
Will Lamb (3-4) took the loss, as he gave up the go-ahead run in the
ninth inning. The Tigers were unable to take advantage of freshman
Dominic Leone's stellar outing in his first career ACC start. He
pitched a career-high 8.0 innings, allowing seven hits, three runs,
and one walk with three strikeouts. The first three Tar Heel batters
of the game crossed home plate, but after Leone surrendered a leadoff
single in the third inning, he yielded just one hit and no runs over
his last 6.0 innings pitched.
The Tar Heels wasted little time taking the game's first lead in the
top of the first inning. Mike Cavasinni led off with a hit-by-pitch.
Ben Bunting followed with a single through the left side to move
Cavasinni to third as Bunting advanced to second on the throw to
third. Levi Michael then lofted a high flyball to deep left-center
that fell for a triple to score Cavasinni and Bunting. After Jesse
Wierzbicki reached on an error and Brian Goodwin fouled out, Dillon
Hazlett singled up the middle to score Michael.
In the bottom of the first inning, Mike Freeman lined a one-out single
to center, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error, and
scored on Kyle Parker's bloop single to left-center.
In the second inning, Wilson Boyd led off with a single to right field
and was safe at second when Will Lamb reached on a fielding error.
John Nester then laced a double down the left-field line to score
Boyd. Richie Shaffer lofted a sacrifice fly to right to plate Lamb and
tie the score 3-3.
After six scoreless innings, the Tar Heels took the lead in the top of
the ninth inning. After the first two batters were retired, Graepel
came off the bench and lined a single to right field. Knief came off
the bench and laced a double to right-center to score Graepel.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Boyd led off with a single to left
field on a 3-2 pitch and went to second on Lamb's sacrifice bunt.
After Nester walked, Shaffer reached on a perfectly placed infield
single on the left side to load the bases with one out. Holt was down
in the count 3-0 to Chris Epps before throwing a strike. Then on a 3-1
pitch, the home-plate umpire called a delayed strike as Shaffer headed
for second base thinking it was ball #4. Catcher Jacob Stallings threw
to first base to easily pick off Shaffer for out #2. Epps then struck
out swinging on a 3-2 pitch for the game's final out.
Bunting paced the Tar Heels' nine-hit attack by going 3-for-4 with a
run. Boyd had a team-high two hits for the Tigers, who had eight hits
in the game. Clemson suffered its first home series loss since 2008
and fell to 0-11 in its last 11 games decided by two runs or less,
seven of which have been one-run defeats.
The Tigers will be off five days for final exams before they return to
action for a four-game series at home against Florida Gulf Coast
starting Saturday at 6:30 PM.
North Carolina takes series
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