April 20, 2018
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The Yellow Jackets scored first but saw a five-run second-inning by No. 8 North Carolina lead the host Tar Heels to a 9-3 home win over Georgia Tech in Atlantic Coast Conference play on Friday night in Boshamer Stadium.
The loss drops Tech to 22-17 overall and 9-10 in the ACC, while with the win the Heels move to 25-13 overall and 13-6 in league action.
At the plate, junior catcher Joey Bart (2-for-5, HR, 2B, RBI, run) and freshman Oscar Serratos (2-for-3, BB) were the lone two Jackets with multiple hits for the game. With his two extra base hits, Bart extended his current hitting streak to a career-high 15-straight games.
Kyle McCann (1-for-3, BB), Wade Bailey (1-for-3, BB, run, SB), Austin Wilhite (1-for-4, RBI), Chase Murray (1-for-3, BB, SF, RBI) and Luke Waddell (1-for-3, 2B, BB, run) all had one hit apiece in the loss.
North Carolina was led offensively by Dallas Tessar (3-for-4, run), Brandon Riley (2-for-5, 3B, RBI), Kyle Datres (1-for-4, HR, 3 RBIs), Michael Busch (1-for-4, BB, 2 RBIs, run), Cody Roberts (1-for-4, HR, 2 RBIs) and Ike Freeman (1-for-4, HR, BB, RBI, run).
Tech starting pitcher Xzavion Curry (6-2) suffered only his second loss of the season in his shortest outing of the year at 4.2 innings pitched. The sophomore gave up seven runs on eight hits, three walks, a hit batter and two strikeouts on the night.
The win falls to reliever Caden O’Brien (2-0), as the lefty enter the game in the fifth inning with the Tar Heels in front 5-2. He threw 1.0 inning, allowing one run on one hit, one walk and one strikeout out of the bullpen.
Tech got off to a bit of a rocky start in the series opener, as the Jackets saw a lead-off walk squandered away with a 3-6-1 double play ball in the top of the first, before the home-standing Tar Heels loaded the bases in the bottom half of the inning.
However, the tide shifted with a ground ball to Wilhite at shortstop to end the inning and keep the game scoreless through one inning of play.
The Jackets carried over the momentum from getting out of the jam in the first into the second when Bailey drew a one-out walk, abruptly stole second and advanced to third on an errant throw by the catcher on the stolen base attempt.
Tech’s Wilhite followed with an RBI single to left field to put the visitors in front 1-0, but got greedy on the play and was thrown out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double.
GT would not be so fortunate in the bottom half of the second inning, as the Tar Heels loaded the bases again, but this time picked up a two-run single and a three-run home run to take a 5-1 lead into the third inning.
The White and Gold got one run back in the top of the third on a Murray sacrifice fly, yet saw the Tar Heels score two runs on two misjudged balls in the outfield, the first one led to a triple to right field while the second proved to be a two-run inside-the-park home run to center to put UNC in front by five at 7-2.
Tech’s Bart led off the top of the sixth with a solo home run to right center field, however, the Jackets stranded two more base runners to trail the Tar Heels 7-3 midway through the sixth inning.
The Tar Heels added a run in the seventh on a Freeman home run and another one in the eighth on a bases loaded fielder’s choice to put the score at 9-3 going into the ninth.
Tech loaded the bases in the ninth, but failed to score a run in the 9-3 road loss.
Both teams left eight runners on base, while both teams also struck out seven times on the night. Tech walked six times, while the Tar Heels walked four times.
The Yellow Jackets (22-17, 9-10 ACC) and No. 8 North Carolina (25-13, 13-6 ACC) are scheduled to play game two of the three-game conference series tomorrow at 4 p.m.