May 29, 2004
Salem, VA (AP) –
Sammy Hewitt’s single to center capped a two-run rally in the last of the ninth inning Friday night, giving North Carolina a 6-5 victory over Clemson in an ACC tournament elimination game.
The hit moved the Tar Heels (41-18) into another elimination game against Florida State on Saturday, with the winner earning a chance to play Georgia Tech for the championship. The unbeaten Yellow Jackets will have to win only one game, their opponent two to win the title.
The Tar Heels, 7-6 losers to Clemson in 10 innings in the first round, rallied as Greg Mangum was hit by a pitch leading off the ninth and pitcher Tony Sipp’s throw to second on a sacrifice attempt sailed over the shortstop’s head and into centerfield, allowing both runners to be safe.
Chris Iannetta then hit a popup down the rightfield line that second baseman Travis Storrer couldn’t catch over his shoulder, the ball dropping for a hit that loaded the bases. Sipp then walked Marshall Hubbard on a 3-2 pitch to tie the game before Hewitt won it with his line drive hit.
The Tigers (36-24) were left to hope for an NCAA tournament bid.
Michael Gross (4-3), who didn’t allow a hit over the last two innings, got the victory. Sipp (2-2), whose only out came in the eighth, lost.
The Tigers had taken a 5-4 lead on Brad McCann’s two-run homer in the seventh. McCann’s second home run of the tournament and 15th of the season came with two outs, and would have been a three-run shot had Sipp not been picked off second base by Jonathan Hovis only moments earlier.
Iannetta’s 15th home run of the season, and third of the tournament, gave North Carolina a 4-3 lead in the fifth and knocked out Tigers starter Kris Harvey. Josh Cribb relieved and struck out the side.
Cribb pitched 3 2-3 innings of two-hit relief, fanning six.
The Tar Heels scored three times in the fourth to erase a 3-0 deficit. Consecutive doubles by Hubbard, Hewitt and Mike Daniel scored two runs, and Mangum’s infield grounder scored Daniel.
The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the first on Leou Santangelo’s two-run homer, and made it 3-0 in the third on Harvey’s fielder’s choice.
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