ATLANTA (March 17) — Junior southpaw Cory Vance matched a career-high with 14 strikeouts on Friday night as No. 24 Georgia Tech handed No. 2 North Carolina its first loss of the season, 5-4, at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Vance (4-1) allowed just three runs and four hits over eight innings of work, as the Jackets picked up their fourth consecutive win.
Carolina (21-1) got on the board first with a two-run home run in the top of the fourth by junior outfielder Tyrell Godwin. Tech answered in the bottom half of the inning with two of its own, with runs scoring on a fielder’s choice by Wes Rynders and an RBI single by Brad Stockton, to knot the score at 2-2.
Freshman Tyler Parker blasted a two-run home run off Carolina starter Ryan Snare (4-1) in the bottom of the fifth to give the Jackets the lead for good at 4-2.
Tech (13-6) added a run in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single by Bryan Prince to up its lead to 5-2, knocking Snare out of the game. Carolina’s lefthander allowed five runs and seven hits over five innings while taking the loss.
UNC struck back with a run of its own on an RBI triple by Godwin in the top of the eighth to close to within 5-3.
After Tech closer Andy Mitchell retired the first two Carolina batters in the top of the ninth, a pinch-hit home run by Ryan Matthews closed the Jackets’ lead to 5-4. Adam Greenberg then tripled to move the tying run to third base with two out. Tar Heels’ shortstop Clay Hooper walked, prompting a Tech pitching change, and sophomore Kevin Cameron came on and struck out Godwin to wrap it up for the Jackets.
The game was the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for each of the schools. Tech and Carolina will continue their three-game set on Saturday afternoon in Atlanta, with the first pitch scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at Russ Chandler Stadium.