For the first time all season long, the third-ranked UNC baseball team dropped a series opener against ACC competition.
To make matters worse, the loss came at the hands of the rival Duke Blue Devils–who held the Tar Heels to a season-low three hits in Thursday’s 8-4 win at Boshamer Stadium.
UNC (42-11, 21-7 ACC) scored all four of its runs in the fourth inning, on the strength of four walks and a wild pitch by Duke starter Mitch Stallings.
The Tar Heels received an RBI single from Brandon Riley and a sacrifice fly from Cody Roberts–while scoring their other runs on a bases-loaded walk and a fielder’s choice.
For a brief moment, the fourth-inning surge was enough to hand UNC a 4-2 lead.
Duke (28-25, 12-16 ACC) responded immediately, however, with three runs off reliever Rodney Hutchison in the top of the fifth inning to go back ahead for good.
The Blue Devils would go on to add another tally in the sixth frame, before chalking up two more in the top of the ninth for good measure.
It was an uncharacteristic performance all around for the Tar Heels, who also saw their nine-game home winning streak come to an end.
With ace JB Bukauskas holding his role as the Friday starter, UNC will look to rebound and avoid a series loss in the second game of the series–which is set to begin Friday at 6:30 p.m.