May 13, 2007
CHAPEL HILL, NC – Seth Williams’ solo home run broke a 9-9 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning, and No. 4 North Carolina (41-11, 18-9 ACC) held off No. 24 Georgia Tech (31-20, 15-11 ACC), 14-11, Sunday afternoon to win the series, 2-1, after the Yellow Jackets earned a 9-5 victory over the Tar Heels earlier in the day.
UNC scored five runs in the second inning and added two in both the third and fifth innings to take its first lead of the game after giving up seven to the Yellow Jackets in the top of the second inning.
Benji Johnson, starting behind the plate for the first time in the series, went 4-for-4 with a double, home run, three RBI and two runs scored to lead Carolina, while Reid Fronk, Garrett Gore and Josh Horton added three hits apiece.
Luke Murton, Matt Wieters and Wally Crancer led the Jackets with three hits in the finale, while Danny Payne and Tony Plagman added two hits apiece. Payne, Wieters, Murton, Brad Feltes and Jason Garofalo all homered for the Yellow Jackets on the day, and there were a total of eight home runs between the two teams on the day.
A second-inning home run by Payne extended his hitting streak to 17 games, and the Yellow Jacket junior went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored to finish the series hitting .571 (8-for-14) with two home runs, a pair of doubles, two RBI and six runs scored. With his first inning hit, Payne extended his streak of reaching base to 71-straight game appearances, dating back to Mar. 24, 2006.
Wieters’ second-inning home run extended his hitting streak to 14 games, and the Yellow Jacket catcher has hit safely in 22 of his last 23 games.
The Yellow Jackets erupted for seven runs with two outs in the top of the second inning to take an early lead in the game. Feltes’ RBI groundout opened the floodgates for the Jackets as Garofalo and Payne followed with back-to-back home runs to put Tech up 3-0. After Patrick Long was hit by a pitch, Wieters sent his 10th home run of the season over the right-center field wall, making the score 5-0. Crancer then earned a walk and moved to third on a double by Murton before Plagman’s second hit of the inning scored Crancer and Murton for the sixth and seventh runs of the frame.
North Carolina answered with five runs of its own in the bottom of the second to pull within two at 7-5. The inning was highlighted by a leadoff triple from Horton, a three-run home run by Johnson and a solo home run by Fronk. UNC added two more runs in the bottom of the third, tying the game at 7-7, when Fronk and Gore hit back-to-back RBI singles after Yellow Jacket reliever Jared Hyatt walked Williams and gave up back-to-back singles to Tim Fedroff and Johnson to load the bases.
Neither starting pitcher made it out of the second inning, as UNC’s Luke Putkonen was tagged for five runs on five hits in 1.2 innings of work while the Jackets’ Ryan Turner gave up five runs, four of which were earned, on six hits while tossing 1.2 innings.
The Tar Heels took their first lead of the game in the fifth inning when Fedroff scored on Tech reliever Tim Ladd’s balk before Federowicz plated Johnson with a sacrifice fly to make the score 9-7.
Murton tied the game with a two-run home run, his ninth of the season, in the top of the sixth, but the Tar Heels scored a pair of runs on a home run by Williams and a throwing error by the Jackets in the bottom of the inning to regain the lead, 11-9.
A sacrifice fly by Fedroff and an RBI single by Fronk pushed UNC’s lead to 13-9 in the bottom of the seventh inning before the `Heels’ capped their scoring with an RBI single by Chad Flack in the eighth.
Tech mounted a comeback in the ninth inning, as Feltes led off the inning with a solo home run, his sixth of the season, for Tech’s 10th run of the game. The Jackets then recorded three-straight hits, including an RBI single by Crancer to pull the Jackets to within three, but Tar Heel closer Andrew Carignan struck out pinch hitter Chris House to end the Yellow Jacket threat.
Federowicz (2-2) tossed 3.1 innings in relief for the Tar Heels, and gave up two runs on three hits while striking out three to earn his second win of the season.
Brad Rulon (2-3) took the loss for the Jackets, giving up two runs on two hits while walking four in two innings of work.
The Jackets will return to Atlanta for their first home series in nearly four weeks when they host the Florida State Seminoles in the season finale Thursday through Saturday at Russ Chandler Stadium. All three games will be televised (SportSouth-Thurs., Fri.; CSS-Sat.) and WREK (91.1 FM/www.wrek.org) will carry the entire series on radio. Live stats are also available at www.ramblinwreck.com.