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#6 North Carolina Rallies Late to Edge #19 Tigers 6-5 in 11 Innings Sunday

#6 North Carolina Rallies Late to Edge #19 Tigers 6-5 in 11 Innings Sunday

March 11, 2012

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Clemson, SC –

Mike Zolk’s two-out, run-scoring single in the 11th inning was the difference in #19 North Carolina’s 6-5 win over #19 Clemson in front of 4,368 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Tar Heels, who swept the series 3-0, improved to 13-2 overall and 3-0 in the ACC. The Tigers fell to 6-7 overall and 0-3 in ACC play. The Tigers’ seven losses have been by a combined 11 runs in 2012.

The Tigers built a 5-2 lead in the sixth inning, then they had a runner at third base with one out in the eighth inning, but were unable to add to their lead. Then in the top of the ninth inning, three straight walks to lead off the inning and Jacob Stallings’ single, the only hit of the frame, helped North Carolina tie the score.

After Clemson left runners at second and third in the bottom of the ninth inning without scoring, the Tigers loaded the bases with one out in the 10th inning with another chance for a walkoff win. But North Carolina turned an inning-ending double play to send the game to the 11th inning.

Colin Moran led off the 11th inning with a double. After the next two Tar Heels were retired, Zolk’s clutch hit sent the Tigers to their fifth one-run loss of the season.

Michael Morin (1-0), the last of eight Tar Heel pitchers, earned the victory. In 2.1 innings pitched, Morin, who had a save in each of the previous two games, allowed only one hit, no runs, and one walk with three strikeouts. The eight Tar Heel hurlers combined to strand 15 runners on base and allowed just five of Clemson’s 21 baserunners to score.

Matt Campbell (0-2) suffered the loss, as he yielded three hits, two runs (one earned), and two walks with one strikeout in 2.0 innings pitched. Starter Kevin Pohle pitched a career-long 6.0 innings in an effective outing, as he gave up just two runs.

The Tar Heels grabbed the game’s first lead in the second inning. Zolk led off with a triple down the right-field line on a 1-2 pitch and scored on Brian Holberton’s groundout to second.

In the fourth inning, Jon McGibbon was hit by a 1-2 pitch with one out, then Jay Baum grounded a single through the left side. Thomas Brittle followed with a line-drive single to left-center to score McGibbon, while Baum and Brittle moved to second and third, respectively, when centerfielder Chaz Frank’s throw to home was errant. But the next two Tigers struck out swinging to keep the score tied 1-1.

Stallings gave North Carolina the lead again in the top of the fifth inning when he belted a two-out, solo homer to left field, his first long ball of the season.

Clemson responded in the bottom of the fifth inning to take its first lead. Richie Shaffer led off with an infield single, then the next two Tigers were retired. Pinch-hitter Dominic Attanasio drew a two-out walk, then McGibbon lined a double down the right-field line to score Shaffer and Attanasio. Baum reached on a throwing error by shortstop Tommy Coyle, then Brittle laced a single to left-center to score McGibbon.

Jason Stolz gave Clemson a 5-2 lead in the sixth inning when he led off with a line-drive homer to left field, his first long ball of the season.

In the top of the ninth inning, Tar Heels plated three runs on only one hit to tie the score. Parks Jordan, Frank, and Coyle all walked to start the inning, then Moran grounded out to first to score Jordan. Stallings ripped a single to left field to score Frank, while Coyle scored the tying run on the play when Attanasio booted the ball.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Attanasio drew a one-out walk and McGibbon singled through the right side to advance Attanasio to second. Brad Felder grounded out to second and was called out in a close play at first base for out #2, then Brittle struck out swinging to send the game into extra innings.

Steve Wilkerson led off the 10th inning with a single to left-center and advanced to second on Stolz’s sacrifice bunt. After Shaffer was intentionally walked, Phil Pohl was hit-by-pitch to load the bases, but Spencer Kieboom grounded into a 6-3 double play to end the inning. It was the first groundball double play turned by a Tiger opponent in eight games.

Moran led off the top of the 11th inning with a double to right-center, then Stallings struck out looking. Cody Stubbs struck out swinging for out #2, but Zolk came through with a line-drive single down the right-field line to score Moran.

The Tigers were retired in order in the bottom of the 11th inning.

Moran, Stallings, and Zolk all had three hits apiece to lead North Carolina, who outhit Clemson 12-10 and totaled nine walks.

McGibbon went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs, and two runs, while Brittle went 2-for-5 with two RBIs. Stolz added a home run and double for the Tigers, who walked eight times and drew two hit-by-pitches.

Clemson will travel to Cullowhee, NC to face Western Carolina on Wednesday at 4:00 PM.