11-Run Eighth Lifts Heels Past FSU

CARY, N.C. -- In a meeting of two of the nation's top three teams, North Carolina scored 11 times in the bottom of the eighth inning to rally from a three-run deficit and claim an improbable 11-4 win over Florida State Friday at Cary's USA Baseball National Training Complex.

The Tar Heels (37-7, 17-4 ACC) held the Seminoles (34-6, 18-4 ACC) to a season-low four hits en route to their 12th straight victory and their longest winning streak since 2002.

With Florida State holding a 3-0 lead, Carolina sent 15 men to the plate in the eighth with 10 straight batters reaching base at one point. Of the Tar Heels' 11-runs, 10 came with two men out in the inning.

Shortstop Garrett Gore tied the game with a two-out, two-run single, and Mark Fleury drove in the go-ahead run on a bases-loaded walk before the floodgates opened for the Tar Heels in their biggest offensive inning of the season.

First baseman Dustin Ackley and right fielder Tim Fedroff each finished with three hits on the night, while Gore added two. Left fielder Kyle Shelton put the game out of reach in the eighth with a three-run home run, the third of his career.

Reliever Rob Wooten (2-1) allowed one run on one hit and two walks over the final 1 1/3 innings and earned the win. Lefty Brian Moran kept the Tar Heels in the game with 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.

Florida State's Jimmy Marshall (4-1) took the loss after not retiring a batter and allowing four unearned runs in the 11-run eighth.

After the Seminoles scored grabbed a 3-0 lead on a run in the fourth and two in the sixth, Ackley started the eighth-inning rally with a leadoff double to left off Ryan Strauss, and Fedroff followed two batters later with a double off the left field wall to bring Carolina within a pair. A walk to second baseman Kyle Seager and a two-out fielding error by FSU third baseman Stephen Cardullo loaded the bases for Gore, who tied the game with a two-run single to center.

Marshall then hit Seth Williams for the 13th time this season to load the bases again, and Fleury drew a walk on a full count to drive in the go-ahead run. The Tar Heels broke the game open from there, as Ackley singled home two more runs, and Shelton connected on the three-run homer to left push the lead to 9-3.

Fedroff laced his second double of the inning and third of the game down the left field line on the very next pitch, and after a walk to third baseman Chad Flack, Seager doubled to right center to close the 11-run offensive outburst with two RBI to push his league-leading total to 62.

The Seminoles used six pitchers in the inning, four of which failed to record an out.

Lost in the late-inning drama was a pair of quality starts. UNC right-hander Alex White held Florida State to just one hit over 5 1/3 innings but had an error and walked four batters that led to three runs. He struck out six batters for the eighth time over his nine starts. White fanned the side in the third and faced the minimum until a pair of errors led the Seminoles' first run in the fourth.

FSU left-hander Matt Fairel struck out six over 5 2/3 scoreless innings, limiting Carolina to just four hits and two walks.

With the game scoreless in the top of the fourth, a two-base throwing error by Gore and a miscue by White on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Jason Stidham put runners on the corners. Buster Posey followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to grab a 1-0 led for Florida State. Carolina avoided further damage by turning its second double play of the night, 4-6-3 on a Jack Rye grounder.

Three walks by White led to two more runs without a Seminole base hit in the sixth. After FSU loaded the bases on three consecutive free passes, Posey drove in his second run on a sacrifice fly to right. Moran then came on for White with runners on the corners, and Rye followed with the Seminoles' third sac fly, this one to center, to push the lead to 3-0.

FSU loaded the bases again in the eighth, but Carolina pitched around Posey with an intentional walk, and Moran and Wooten retired the next two batters to keep the deficit at three runs and set up the 11-run rally.

The Tar Heels and Seminoles continue their three-game series at 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

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