March 20, 2015
TECH STARTERS: Spingola/CF, Innis/LF, Johnson/RF, Murray/DH, Gonzalez/3B, Smith/1B , Bailey/2B, Justus/SS, Pasbt/C, King/SP.
UNC STARTERS: Lassiter/LF, Ramirez/RF, Gahagan/1B, Bolt/CF, Wamouth/SS, Raburn/3B, Pate/DH, Sutherland/2B, Dunbar/C, Gallen/SP.
Kel Johnson’s two-run home run tied the game in the eighth inning, but Korey Dunbar’s two-run homer in ninth gave No. 18 North Carolina the lead again as the Tar Heels edged No. 21 Georgia Tech, 5-3, Friday night at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Six of the last seven games between Tech and UNC have been one- or two-run decisions.
The loss dropped the Yellow Jackets to 15-6 overall and 4-3 in the ACC, while the Tar Heels improved to 13-8, 4-3.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Carolina struck for three runs off Tech starter Jonathan King in the third inning and maintained that 3-0 lead until the Jackets scratched in the fifth.
An RBI single from Connor Justus followed a double from Wade Bailey as Tech pulled within 3-1 in the fifth.
Daniel Spingola singled to get the Jackets’ eighth inning started and two batters later, Johnson launched his seventh homer of the year to right and tied the game at 3-3 off UNC reliever Trent Thornton.
UNC had an answer in the ninth as Adam Pate got the inning started with a single and following a sacrifice bunt, Dunbar’s first homer of the year was a two-run blast to center that stood as the game winner.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
Of Johnson’s seven home runs this season, five have either tied the game or given Tech a lead, including tonight’s game-tying two-run opposite-field homer in the eighth.
Spingola extended his hitting streak to nine games with a ninth-inning single and Keenan Innis’ hitting streak reached five games.
Johnson and Justus each had two-hit efforts for the Jackets. Eight of Johnson’s last 10 games have been multi-hit efforts.
King gave the Jackets seven innings, allowing three runs and did not factor in the decision.
Tanner Shelton allowed the lead-off single in the ninth and would absorb the loss (1-1).
Trevor Kelley tossed closed out the Jackets in order in the ninth to nail down his second save and give Thornton the win (1-1).
Zac Gallen fanned seven over seven innings for Carolina.
Dunbar was 2-for-4 with two runs, while Pate and Landon Lassiter each had two-hit efforts.
“Jonathan King really gave us a chance tonight and he had just that one tough inning. To (UNC’s) credit, they got a couple two-out hits to score some runs. But we hung around and Kel Johnson hit a big home run to tie the game. Certainly disappointed to drop this one, but we’ve been here before and we need to bounce back and have a great Saturday.”
— Head Coach Danny Hall
Due to forecasted rain on Sunday, the series concludes Saturday as the teams will play a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.