April 21, 2018
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The home-standing North Carolina Tar Heels got the last bat on Saturday night, which proved to be the difference maker as the Jackets scored two runs in the top of the 10th only to see the No. 8 Tar Heels plate three in the bottom half of the inning to steal a 9-8 extra-inning win in front of its home crowd at Boshamer Stadium.
Georgia Tech got a bases loaded two-out single from catcher Joey Bart in the top of the 10th to score two Jackets and give the visitors an 8-6 lead and put them just three outs away from the win.
Yet, the outs did not come soon enough, as the Tar Heels used three extra base hits, a lead-off double, an RBI double and then an RBI triple to tie the game back up at 8-8, before a one-out sacrifice fly to right field scored the game-winning run from third base to give the Tar Heels the one-run extra-inning win.
The loss drops Tech to 0-3 in extra inning game this season, 22-18 overall and 9-11 in ACC play. The Heels improved to 4-1 in extra inning contests on the year, 26-13 overall and 14-6 in league play with the Saturday win.
For the second-straight week, Tech lefty Connor Thomas had a great start spoiled. The sophomore starter held the Tar Heels to just two runs, one of which was earned, on six hits, one walk and eight strikeouts over 6.2 innings. He left the game with a 6-2 lead and having thrown a career-high 115 pitches.
The Tech bullpen was hit up for seven runs over 3.0 innings, surrendering four in the eighth and three runs in the 10th in the loss which fell to redshirt sophomore Jonathan Hughes (0-3) who gave up two runs on two hits in the extra frame.
Despite allowing two runs on two hits, a walk and a strikeout over 2.0 innings, UNC closer Josh Hiatt (2-1) was awarded the win as he was the pitcher in the game when the Tar Heels scored in the 10th.
Bart (1-for-5, 2 RBIs) has now hit safely in 16-straight games, a new career-long streak for the junior, while Chase Murray (1-for-4, HR, BB, 2 RBIs, run) and Kyle McCann (2-for-6, HR, RBI, 3 runs) each had a home run for the game.
For the Heels, Jackson Hesterlee (1-for-1, GS, 4 RBIs) had an eighth-inning pinch hit grand slam, while Brandon Martorano (4-for-4, 2 2B, BB, RBI, 2 runs) and Dallas Tessar (1-for-4, 2 RBIs, run) each had multiple hits in the win.
North Carolina took full advantage of some Georgia Tech miscues and a walk early to take a 2-0 lead after just two innings of play. The home team in white picked up a two-out RBI single in the first inning with the help of two Tech throwing errors and then doubled its lead in the bottom of the second frame on a sacrifice fly in which the runner that scored from third reached base on a lead-off walk.
Tech didn’t get its first hit of the game until the top of the fourth inning, but it proved to be a big one. Following a dropped fly ball in left field which allowed McCann to reach base safely, Murray hit a two-run blast over the wall and into the trees in right field to tie the game up at 2-2 midway through the fourth.
The home run was Murray’s fourth of the season.
The White and Gold took the lead one inning later, as the bottom of the lineup got things started with an eight-pitch walk by Baron Radcliff and an RBI double down the left field line off the bat of Guldberg to push the visitors in front at 3-2.
After Guldberg scored on a double play ground ball two batters later to extend the Tech lead to two at 4-2, the heart of the order in McCann and Murray both reached base on a single and walk to bring up English who hit a two-out single over the head of the leaping UNC shortstop to score McCann and give the Jackets a 5-2 lead heading into the bottom half of the fifth.
GT’s Thomas was superb on the mound after falling behind 2-0, as he sent down 12-of-14 UNC batters over the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings before giving up two base hits in the bottom of the seventh and handing the ball over to reliever Robert Winborne.
The junior sidearm hurler got the Tar Heel hitter to fly out to center field to end the inning and strand two UNC runners to send the game to the eighth inning with the Jackets on top 6-2.
However, after stranding a runner on base in the top of the eighth, the Tar Heels used a single and two walks to load the bases before Hesterlee hit a two-out pinch hit grand slam to right field to tie the game up at 6-6.
In the ninth, the Jackets went down in order, while Tech’s Jared Datoc pitched around a one-out single with a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning and send us tied to extras at 6-6.
The Jackets scored eight runs in the game, but also left 10 runners on base on the night.
The two teams will wrap up the three-game ACC Coastal Division series tomorrow afternoon. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. at Boshamer Stadium.