April 3, 2009
ATLANTA – Alex White scattered just two runs on four hits over eight innings and Tarron Robinson’s pinch-hit RBI single in the top of the eighth broke a 1-1 tie to lift No. 5 North Carolina to a 4-2 victory over No. 3 Georgia Tech Friday night at Russ Chandler Stadium.
The Tar Heels (23-6, 8-4 ACC) struck first, as Ben Bunting scored on a sacrifice fly by Kyle Seager in the top of the first inning to give Carolina an early 1-0 lead. The Yellow Jackets (18-5, 8-3 ACC) tied the game in the bottom of the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Thomas Nichols.
Neither team would score again until the eighth, when Mark Fleury and Ryan Graepel slapped back-to-back two-out singles to chase Yellow Jacket reliever Zach Brewster.
The loss overshadowed a gutsy performance by Tech starter McGuire, who yielded just one run on two hits in his six innings of work. He struck out 11, a season-high for the Tar Heel offense, but ran his pitch count high with seven walks. He did not factor into the decision.
“Deck did a tremendous job of pitching out of trouble,” Tech head coach Danny Hall said. “He kind of created his own mess, but would pitch his way out of it. I thought he got stronger as the game went along, but his pitch count got up there and I had to take him out. If you look at the end result, he left the game with us having a great chance to win. That’s to his credit.”
Brewster (0-1) came on for McGuire in the top of the seventh to retire the side in order. He then worked fly outs from the first two batters in the eighth inning before the Tar Heels broke a string of six straight innings without a hit with the two singles.
Patrick Long entered to relieve Brewster in the eighth and worked an 0-2 count on Robinson before the pinch hitter smacked a double down the left field line to plate Fleury. Mike Cavasinni followed with a ground ball which looked to end the inning, but a fielding error by first baseman Tony Plagman allowed another run to cross the plate.
Both runs were charged to Brewster, who would end up suffering the first loss of his career.
Tech answered back in the bottom half of the inning to cut the lead to 3-2 when Jeff Rowland walked, stole second base and scored on a two-out RBI double by catcher Jason Haniger. White then forced Plagman to ground out, ending the threat.
The Heels tacked on another run in the ninth inning when Levi Michael smacked a solo home run off Tech reliever Jake Davies.
After working eight stellar innings, White turned the ball over to Colin Bates in the ninth. The Tar Heel reliever allowed a two-out single to Thomas Nichols, but struck out Jason Garofalo to earn his fifth save of the year.
White (5-0) struck out eight and walked five while picking up his fifth win of the season.
“He’s very good,” Hall said of White. “He’s got great stuff and great make-up. He pitched out of trouble when he needed to. There is nothing not to like about the guy, and he is one of the best in the country.”
The Jackets and Tar Heels continue the series Saturday at 3 p.m. in a game that will be broadcast on AM 790 The Zone. Zach Von Tersch (5-1, 5.79 ERA) will take the mound for Georgia Tech, and UNC will counter with righty Adam Warren (3-2, 2.78 ERA). Live stats will be available at Ramblinwreck.com.