CHAPEL HILL – UNC’s Skye Bolt singled to shallow right field with two on and two outs in the ninth the give North Carolina the 6-5 win over South Carolina in game one of the Super Regional.
The Gamecocks got out to a hot start, and almost had the Tar Heels stopped to take a 2-0 lead into the second. However, a dropped ball by left-fielder Graham Saiko with two outs and tied the game.
North Carolina’s starter Kent Emanuel struggled on the mound in his 2.1 innings pitched Saturday. After his early exit, the Tar Heels saw two more pitchers in the next two innings, and the Gamecocks used that to take a 4-3 lead.
The game settled after three and went two and a half innings without additional runs. It wasn’t until the bottom of the sixth when the Tar Heels took their first lead. Skye Bolt led off the inning with a single to center field. Cody Stubbs followed with a stand-up double down the right-field line to put runners on second and third.
After a pitching change and a groundout, Michael Russell stepped to the plate and hit a line drive to center field scoring Bolt and Stubbs to take the first North Carolina lead of the game.
North Carolina held the 5-4 lead until the top of the eighth. With two outs and runners on first and second, Chaz Frank saw the second shallow ball in a row and dove again, without the grab. Chase Vergason’s line drive bounced past the center fielder and Kyle Martin scored from second.
Trent Thornton remained on the mound through the ninth and took down the Gamecocks one, two, three, including a strikeout for the final out of the top of the inning.
North Carolina started the bottom of the ninth strong with a base hit to center by Parks Jordan. Frank moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt. Lassiter flew out to right field, but Jordan wasn’t able to advance. With two outs and Moran stepping to the plate with a 2-4 day already with two runs scored and two RBIs, South Carolina decided to fill the hole on first base with the North Carolina junior.
Skye Bolt followed Moran and with an 0-2 count after fouling off three pitches found the hole just in front of right-fielder Sean Sullivan.
Jordan put on the jets and rounded third sliding home just before the throw to take the 6-5 win.
After the game, Associate Head Coach Scott Forbes said not only has Bolt battled back from the broken foot but is also working through a wrist injury. He didn’t let that bother him when the game was on the line.
“What else do you expect from this team, honestly?” Forbes asked. “I thought we were going to play 15 innings right out of the gate, but Skye kept us from doing that.”
The decision gives UNC the 1-0 lead going into game two of the Super Regional on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The series winner advances to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.