March 21, 2014
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Wood Myers hit an RBI single with two outs in the 11th inning as No. 13 North Carolina walked off with a 3-2 victory over Georgia Tech Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill.
The Yellow Jackets (13-9, 3-4) fanned a season-high 16 Tar Heels (15-6, 5-2) and got strong efforts on the mound from Josh Heddinger, Sam Clay and Dusty Isaacs but lost on a walk-off for the second time this season to snap a four-game winning streak.
In the 11th, Joe Dudek drew a lead-off walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. After Isaacs rolled a grounder for the second out, Wood Myers hit a sharp liner into shallow left field. Matt Gonzalez came up firing and his throw to the plate was in plenty of time but just wide. Catcher Arden Pabst dove, but could not slap the tag on pinch-runner Brandon Whiteford, who was safe as the winning run.
Three of the last four games in the Tech-UNC series have been decided on walk-off hits as the the Jackets won the series over then-No. 1 UNC with a pair of walk-off wins in Atlanta last season.
“We’ve had some major battles with them over the years,” said head coach Danny Hall. “And it was another battle tonight. We played really well, but just couldn’t get that hit we needed, which is unfortunate because we pitched it well enough to win.”
Heddinger matched his career-high with seven strikeouts over five innings, and the junior allowed three hits and two runs (one earned) but did not factor in the decision. Sam Clay was brilliant over 3.2 scoreless, two-hit innings of relief with a career-high six strikeouts. Isaacs fanned three in two innings, but was hung the tough-luck loss (2-3).
UNC starter Tyler Thornton yielded four runs and two hits over eight innings with eight strikeouts. Riley Hovis tossed the final three innings and was credited with his fourth win (4-1).
“We pitched it well and it’s a shame to lose when you pitch well on a Friday night,” said Hall. “And credit their two guys, they threw the ball really well.”
The Jackets broke the ice in the third, capitalizing on Keenan Innis’ lead-off single up the middle. He moved to second on a wild pitch, to third on Connor Justus’ grounder to the right side and scored on Arden Pabst’s RBI ground-out.
Landon Lassiter scored from first on a double to right in the fifth that was misplayed by Tech’s outfield. Tom Zengel’s sacrifice fly later that inning allowed the Heels to take a 2-1 lead.
Tech though came back in the eighth as Justus’ single to left got the inning started and Pabst followed with a perfectly-placed bunt that died on the first-base line for another single. A sac bunt from Daniel Spingola moved both into scoring position and Mott Hyde’s sacrifice fly to deep right tied the game at 2-2.
The series will conclude on Saturday with a doubleheader as the weekend schedule was adjusted with impending rain on Sunday. Saturday’s first game begins at 2 p.m. with the nightcap at 6 p.m. Both games will air on ESPN3.