April 5, 2009
ATLANTA – A three-run home run by Dustin Ackley highlighted an eight-run second inning to help No. 5 North Carolina (24-7, 9-5 ACC) to a 13-10 win over No. 3 Georgia Tech (19-6, 9-4 ACC) Sunday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium.
With the win, the Tar Heels handed the Yellow Jackets their first series loss of the season.
“Today was an opportunity wasted,” Tech head coach Danny Hall said. “I’m disappointed to lose a series at home. We gave them the big inning in the eighth with our lack of defense, and the big number was hard to come back from. We were a hit away at times, but their third baseman made three great plays to keep runs from scoring. I thought that was the big difference in the ball game.”
Ackley finished with three hits and four RBI, while Kyle Seager led the UNC offense with four hits on the day. Tony Plagman paced the Jackets with four hits, and Luke Murton added three hits while driving in two runs in the game.
An RBI double by Murton, run-scoring single by Matt Skole and bases loaded walk issued to Jason Garofalo staked the Yellow Jackets to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first, but the Tar Heels answered quickly with their eight-run explosion in the second.
The Tar Heels scored their eight runs on six hits while the Yellow Jackets added three errors in the inning. Tech starter Kevin Jacob (4-2) lasted just 1.2 innings and yielded eight runs, six of which were earned, on seven hits.
Carolina added a run in the third and two more in the fourth before the Jackets narrowed the gap to 11-7 with a three-spot in the fifth. Murton and Skole reached on back-to-back singles to lead off the inning, and Garofalo followed with a run-scoring single to plate Murton. A base hit by Chris House loaded the bases for Jeff Rowland, who drove in Skole with a sacrifice fly. Dietrich then doubled to the opposite side to plate Garofalo, but UNC starter Matt Harvey worked out of the jam by forcing Jason Haniger into an inning-ending ground out.
Harvey gave up seven runs on nine hits and held the lead when he was lifted, but did not work the required five innings to pick up the win. Brian Moran (3-1) was credited with the victory after working out of a jam in the fifth, having allowed two hits and no runs.
A solo home run by Ackley, his second of the game, pushed the `Heels lead to six runs in the top of the sixth, but the Jackets scratched for a run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double by Murton off UNC reliever Patrick Johnson to make the score 12-8. Following a ground out and a pair of walks by Johnson, Nate Striz retired House and Rowland with the bases loaded to end the Tech threat.
Carolina pushed across an insurance run in the eighth on a one-out double by Seager, his fourth of the game, to push the lead to 13-8. A two-run home run by Haniger in the bottom of the ninth finished the scoring for the Jackets.
Bryant Gaines worked the final three innings on the hill for the Tar Heels, allowing just four hits, including Haniger’s ninth inning blast, to pick up his first save of the season.
The Jackets stranded runners in seven of nine innings, including leaving the bases loaded in the first and sixth, and left a total of 13 men on base in the game.
Tech continues its five-game homestand this week when it hosts Georgia Southern for a two-game series beginning Tuesday evening. The first game is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., and first pitch is slated for 4 p.m. Wednesday. Both games will be carried on ACC Select and can be heard on WREK Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta/www.wrek.org). Live stats will be available at Ramblinwreck.com.