Baseballs continued to fly out of Russ Chandler Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday, but this time it was Georgia Tech that would get the last laugh against UNC.
Junior first baseman Kel Johnson–a Second Team Preseason All-American–crushed a walk-off two-run homer off of Tar Heel reliever Rodney Hutchison in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the Yellow Jackets a 4-2 victory, and even up the weekend series.
Johnson’s blast was the third home run of the game for either team, which continued a trend started on Friday when the squads combined for five long balls in UNC’s 6-5 series-opening win.
The Tar Heels (14-5, 3-2 ACC) tallied both of their runs on Saturday with a pair of solo shots.
Freshman first baseman Michael Busch put UNC ahead 1-0 in the top of the third inning with the first home run of his career, while senior leftfielder Tyler Lynn homered for the second straight day in the top of the sixth–tying the game at two apiece in the process.
In between the home runs, however, was some fantastic pitching by each side.
Georgia Tech (12-5, 2-3 ACC) used a combination of five different pitchers to hold the Tar Heels to just seven hits over the 12-inning game–three of which came from freshman designated hitter Ashton McGee.
UNC, meanwhile, received another stellar performance from Luca Dalatri as he continues to make the transition from high school to college look like a walk in the park.
The 6-foot-6-inch New Jersey native tossed eight innings, while striking out seven Yellow Jackets and surrendering just five hits.
Dalatri ran into his only major trouble in the bottom of the third inning, when Georgia Tech broke through with an RBI double from Wade Bailey, and followed it up with a sacrifice fly from Trevor Craport.
Prior to Johnson’s game-winner in the 12th, each team went scoreless for over five innings thanks to some phenomenal work from the bullpen arms.
Now the Tar Heels will head into Sunday’s series finale having gone back and forth with the Yellow Jackets for two straight days, neither team able to assert any sort of overall dominance.
Sunday’s game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., with the Tar Heels likely to start junior Jason Morgan on the mound.
- UNC went 3-for-16 at the plate with runners on base, and failed to tally a single hit with two outs.
- Through 19 games in 2017, the Tar Heels have hit 18 home runs. They hit just 32 long balls across 55 games in 2016.