UNC Retires Andrew Miller’s No. 33

UNC retired the jersey of former star pitcher Andrew Miller during the men’s basketball game on Saturday.

Miller became the third player in program history to have his number retired, joining Dave Lemonds and B.J. Surhoff.

Miller was presented with his No. 33 jersey in a ceremony by Chancellor Carol Folt and Senior Associate Athletic Director Larry Gallo.

Miller, a native of Gainesville, Florida, helped the Tar Heels to its first College World Series appearance since 1989 and was a key cog in one of the most successful runs in college baseball history.

Miller was the 2006 Baseball America National Player of the Year and Roger Clemens Award winner after going 12-3 as a junior with a 2.48 earned run average.

Miller was chosen with the number six pick in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft by the Detroit Tigers. Miller is now a relief pitcher with the New York Yankees. Miller finished the 2015 MLB season with 36 saves for the Yankees with a 2.04 ERA.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-retires-andrew-millers-no-33

UNC Baseball Picked 3rd in ACC Coastal

The UNC baseball team was picked to finish third in the ACC Coastal Division by the league’s coaches.

Louisville was picked to win the ACC.  All 14 ACC coaches voted for the Cardinals.

Miami was selected to repeat as Coastal Division Champions.  The Hurricanes made the College World Series in 2015 and were selected by 13 of the 14 coaches in the league to win the division.

The defending NCAA Champion, Virginia, was picked to finish second in the Coastal Division.

The 2015 ACC Champion Florida State Seminoles were picked to finish second in the ACC Atlantic Division behind Louisville.

In 2015, the UNC baseball team finished 34-24 overall and 15-18 in the ACC.  The Tar Heels missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001.

Seven ACC teams earned bids to the NCAA Tournament, tied for the most from any conference.  Four squads reached the Super Regionals.

UNC baseball begins the season on February 19 with a three-game series is California against UCLA.  The Tar Heels’ first home series will be against Oklahoma State.

 

2016 ACC Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll

Overall Champion
1. Louisville (14)

Atlantic Division
1. Louisville (14) – 98
2. Florida State – 74
3. NC State – 72
4. Notre Dame – 50
5. Clemson – 46
6. Wake Forest – 35
7. Boston College – 17

Coastal Division
1. Miami (13) – 97
2. Virginia (1) – 80
3. North Carolina – 71
4. Georgia Tech – 58
5. Duke – 38
6. Virginia Tech – 30
7. Pitt – 18

 

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-baseball-picked-3rd-in-acc-coastal

Carolina Baseball Ranked No. 16 in Preseason Poll

The Carolina baseball team will start the 2016 season ranked No. 16.

The preseason ranking comes from D1Baseball.

Florida tops the poll.

Six ACC teams are ranked in the preseason poll.  Louisville sits second.  Miami is sixth, N.C. State is tenth, defending national champion Virginia is 13th, and Florida State is 20th.  The six ACC teams in the Top 25 places it second among all of the country’s conferences.  The SEC has seven teams in the poll.

Carolina baseball begins the season on February 19 with a three-game series is California against No. 11 UCLA.  The Tar Heels’ first home series will be against No. 8 Oklahoma State.

The Tar Heels will attempt to make the NCAA tournament for the 16th time under head coach Mike Fox.

Fox and the Tar Heels finished the 2015 season with a record of 34-24.

The future is bright for the Carolina baseball team.  Fox signed the No. 1 recruiting class of 2016.  But, those players will not come to Chapel Hill until the fall.  They will not take the field for the Tar Heels until the 2017 season.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/carolina-baseball-ranked-no-16-in-preseason-poll

Vs. Cancer Raises Close To One Million Dollars In 2015

Vs. Cancer, a nonprofit started by former UNC baseball player Chase Jones, has raised nearly $1 million in the past year.

“When I was diagnosed I promised to fight this disease as long as I could,” Jones said. “Point blank, we will continue to fight this disease. This year we are one million dollars closer to the bold and radical idea that we will truly end child cancer.”

As a college freshman in 2006, Jones was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer. Nine years later, and cancer free, Jones is still making an impact with his Vs. Cancer foundation.

The Vs. Cancer Foundation has partnered with 64 different colleges, 7 professional baseball teams and a number of youth teams to raise awareness and funds to fight child cancer.

One of its partners is UNC Athletics, specifically baseball and lacrosse.

UNC teams raised over $30,000 during homecoming weekend in the fall.

“I didn’t play with any of these guys, which makes it even more significant that year after year both of these teams consistantly buy in,” he said.

Over the past three years, Jones said UNC baseball and lacrosse have raised over $100,000.

“This has become far more than just a feel good story for UNC athletics,” he said. “They’re providing funds that are game changing.”

That money has gone towards funding a child life specialist at UNC’s Lineberger Cancer Center, a position that was part time, but thanks to Vs. Cancer, is now full time.

“It’s kind of a liaison between doctors, nurses, families and patients,” Jones said. “They coordinate all kinds of healing programs such as music therapy to art therapy to retreats, really helping kids feel like kids while they go through the process.”

For anyone who wants to donate or know more about the Vs. Cancer Foundation, click here to visit their website.

At the moment, an anonymous community member is matching all donations up to $5,000.

http://chapelboro.com/featured/vs-cancer-raises-close-to-one-million-dollars-in-2015

Benton Moss Named First Team Academic All-American

UNC senior pitcher Benton Moss was selected to the 2015 Capital One Academic All-American first team on Thursday—the first Tar Heel baseball player to earn the honor since current New York Yankee pitcher Adam Warren in 2009.

A Morehead Scholar double majoring in business and economics, Moss has already received other prestigious awards for his educational pursuits—such as the Jim Tatum Memorial Award, given to one UNC varsity student-athlete per year for excelling in athletics and academics, and the ACC Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Although he was chosen in the 15th round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the defending world champion San Francisco Giants, Moss opted to come back to Chapel Hill this year to finish his degree–and for one last shot at college glory on the diamond.

Despite the team’s struggles in 2015, Moss posted a 7-1 record on the mound, with a 3.44 ERA in 13 starts. He also moved into second on the all-time school strikeout list, becoming one of just four men in UNC history to strike out more than 300 hitters.

Academic All-American honors are selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America and are based on athletic and academic achievement.

Moss was the only ACC player to be named to the first team.

He was profiled here on Chapelboro.com before the season. You can find that story here.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/benton-moss-named-first-team-academic-all-american

UNC Baseball Misses NCAA Tournament For First Time Since 2001

For the first time since 2001 the UNC baseball team will not play in the NCAA Tournament. It marks just the second time in head coach Mike Fox’s 17-year tenure that the Tar Heels will not be playing into June.

“I never thought we were immune to this,” Coach Fox said. “It’s not a given. You can say that, but all of a sudden when you’re not in, that’s the reality. No program is immune to this. There’s a lot of really, really good teams out there.”

The team finished the season with a record of 34-24 overall and 15-18 in the ACC.

Junior left fielder Landon Lassiter was suspended indefinitely on Friday. (Smith Cameron Productions)

Junior left fielder Landon Lassiter was suspended indefinitely on Friday. (Smith Cameron Productions)

UNC struggled to close out the season after being thought of as a potential top seed and regional host just a few short weeks ago. It also didn’t help that the team went 3-8 in its last 11 games, which is a large factor into the selection committee’s decisions.

“I think it’s that [the close to the season], and I think our conference record,” Coach Fox said. “I think anytime you finish below .500 like we did in the conference, I think those two things probably–in the committee’s mind, I’m not speaking for them–were hard to overlook.”

The indefinite suspension of junior left fielder Landon Lassiter—the team’s top hitter with a .300 batting average on the year—announced on Friday could also have played a role in the decision.

Fox has declined to comment on Lassiter’s status since the announcement, other than to say that Lassiter would not rejoin the team for the NCAA Tournament no matter how far they advanced.

UNC ended the year ranked 24th in the nation’s RPI rankings, which measure teams based on win percentage and strength of schedule. That was the highest of any team in the country that was not selected for the 64 team tournament.

The ACC had seven schools selected to play for a national title, including the Clemson Tigers–who the Tar Heels defeated last Friday by a score of 6-3.

“We talked to our players about this, that it’s not a right that we have being in this conference, or being anywhere, that [we’re] in,” Coach Fox said. “So now that it’s a reality we’ll see how it affects us going forwards. Hopefully, in a positive way which it should. We have the right approach and the right kids and the right coaches.”

For comparison, the Tigers finished the season at 32-27 and ranked 55th in the RPI rankings–but they closed out the year 8-3 in their last 11 games.

Skye Bolt's time in a Carolina uniform is likely over, as the junior center fielder is expected to be an early MLB draft pick. (Smith Cameron Productions)

Skye Bolt’s time in a Carolina uniform is likely over, as the junior center fielder is expected to be an early MLB draft pick. (Smith Cameron Productions)

ESPN had Clemson listed as its “Last Team In” to the tournament, and the Tar Heels as its “First Team Out”–meaning the decision for the final spot in the field came down to those two teams.

Now the eyes will turn from a potential postseason run over to June’s MLB Draft, where Tar Heels such as Benton Moss, Skye Bolt, and Korey Dunbar have a great chance to be selected–but that doesn’t make the sting of missing the tournament for the first time in 14 years hurt any less.

“You hope when you don’t have good feelings about things that you’ll do things to put yourselves in a position this time next year to not feel this way,” Coach Fox said.

“That’s what we’ve gotta find out about ourselves, starting with me from the top down, meeting with all of our players. Who wants to help and really be part of the solution?,” Fox added.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-baseball-misses-ncaa-tournament-for-first-time-since-2001

ACC Baseball Tournament: Tar Heels Pick Up Big Win Over Clemson

Feeling the unfamiliar pressure of the NCAA Tournament bubble, the UNC baseball team rebounded from back-to-back losses to defeat the Clemson Tigers by a score of 6-3 on Friday at the ACC Tournament in Durham.

Both teams finish with records of 1-2 in ACC pool play and are eliminated from conference championship contention.

The Tar Heels are now 34-24 for the season, finishing league play at 15-18. Clemson also ends the year on the bubble–at 32-27 overall and 17-16 in the ACC.

Freshman flamethrower JB Bukauskas (5-3)–like his team–bounced back from a couple of rough starts on the mound in his previous two outings. For the game he gave up five hits in 5.2 innings of two-run ball, striking out seven hitters without walking anyone on his way to the win.

“The last couple times out I haven’t been very sharp, just felt like I didn’t have anything. And I felt a little bit like that in the bullpen today [before the game] until I got out on the mound. It just kinda started to click.” Bukauskas said.

Skye Bolt (20) broke the game wide open with a three-run homer in the third inning. (Sara D. Davis, TheACC.com)

Skye Bolt (20) broke the game wide open with a three-run homer in the third inning. (Sara D. Davis, TheACC.com)

“I felt like I had my fastball more than I did [in recent starts], and the slider just started snapping off better,” he added. “Once I had that, once I felt confident with it I just started throwing it more. And it ended up with a good result.”

In the bottom of the third inning Skye Bolt blasted a three-run homer against Clemson senior right-hander Jake Long (2-1) to break a scoreless tie. From there the Tar Heels never looked back–although they managed all six of their runs on just five hits, taking advantage of eight walks and four errors by the Tiger defense.

“It was a big swing of the bat,” Bolt said. “[We] go ahead 3-0 and JB’s throwing the way he was. It’s important for our guys, it’s important for the team. It’s a good feeling. You wanna be ahead. You wanna have your starting pitcher up there with confidence having a little bit of leeway.”

“And that’s what I was able to provide,” Bolt continued.

UNC found some more offense in the fourth with an RBI single from left fielder Adam Pate and a bases loaded walk drawn by Bolt, who finished one for three at the plate with four RBIs.

Left fielder Reed Rohlman had three hits and second baseman Tyler Krieger had a pair, along with an RBI, to lead the Clemson offense. Krieger drove in the Tigers’ first run with a hard-hit single off Bukauskas in the sixth before coming in to score the second one himself later in the inning after a wild pitch by senior reliever Trevor Kelley.

Neither team picked up a hit until UNC right fielder Tyler Ramirez legged out an infield single in the bottom of the third after Pate previously reached base on a throwing error from Clemson shortstop Eli White–setting up Bolt with two men on base.

Bolt then turned on a 3-2 pitch from Long, sending it deep into the right field bleachers for the homer that gave Bukauskas plenty of breathing room–and that served as the difference in the game.

JB Bukauskas was back to normal after struggling in recent starts. (Sara D. Davis/ TheACC.com)

Clemson put up two runs in the sixth, but they immediately gave one of them right back. White made his second error at shortstop when he lost a pop-up by Bolt in the sun, which allowed Tyler Ramirez to come home and score UNC’s sixth run of the afternoon.

From there, Kelley worked the next three innings to close up shop– despite Clemson creeping to within three on a single by third baseman Weston Wilson.

After the game Bolt said he was confident that the Tar Heels would get into the NCAA Tournament, but UNC head coach Mike Fox still has some reservations about whether his team will make the final cut.

“I think if we [had went] 0-3 [in pool play], there’s a reason to leave us out,” Fox said. “It was a big win for us. Is it enough? I don’t know. I certainly hope so because I’ve enjoyed coaching this team. They compete, and I want my seniors–and obviously these other guys–to experience it.”

Up Next:

The Tar Heels now find their fate in the hands of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee. The 64-team NCAA Tournament field will be announced at noon on Monday–and shown live on ESPNU.

Game Notes:

  • UNC announced via Twitter on Friday that junior left fielder Landon Lassiter has been suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team. He did not play against Clemson.
  • Skye Bolt’s home run was his 10th of the season and 20th of his career at Carolina.
  • After going 2-4 on Friday, Tyler Ramirez has reached base in 28 straight games for the Tar Heels.

FINAL BOX SCORE

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/acc-baseball-tournament-tar-heels-pick-up-big-win-over-clemson

ACC Baseball Tournament: Bats Fall Flat, Tar Heels Downed by No. 13 FSU

Led by a solid effort on the mound from junior Mike Compton, the No. 13 Florida State Seminoles cruised to an 8-4 victory over the UNC baseball team on Thursday night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

With their second straight loss in pool play, the Tar Heels (33-24, 14-18) are eliminated from contention for the conference crown.

The Seminoles (40-19, 19-13) are now in position to advance to Sunday’s ACC Championship Game thanks to 5.2 stellar innings from Compton (4-3), who gave up just two runs on five hits. Florida State defeated Clemson on Wednesday and is now 2-0 in the tournament.

DJ Stewart and the Seminole offense picked up four runs against Trent Thornton in the first three innings, while their pitching staff kept Carolina in check. (Liz Condo, theACC.com)

DJ Stewart (8) and the Seminole offense picked up four runs against Trent Thornton in the first three innings, while their pitching staff kept Carolina in check. (Liz Condo, theACC.com)

Carolina’s offense–which has consistently been the team’s Achilles’ Heel this season–picked up just one hit through the first five innings.

Throughout that time period Compton shut them down with fantastic control of all his pitches.

“[Compton’s] good. He’s really good,” UNC head coach Mike Fox said. “I mean, Florida State’s always had pitchers that pound the strike zone. If you look at the box score that’s the difference in the game I think. We walk one time, they walk eight.”

Tar Heel Right fielder Tyler Ramirez finally sparked some life into the largely pro-UNC crowd when he hit a triple to kick start a two-run sixth frame capped by RBIs from Alex Raburn and Korey Dunbar.

They added two more tallies on Brian Miller’s two-run single in the bottom of the ninth, but by then it was too little, too late–as Florida State preceded that by putting up three runs in the eighth against the UNC bullpen.

Trent Thornton was up and down for the Tar Heels in his first start since March. (Liz Condo, theACC.com)

Trent Thornton was up and down for the Tar Heels in his first start since March. (Liz Condo, theACC.com)

Junior Trent Thornton (3-7) made the start for UNC and looked impressive, going 5.1 innings on his way to a career-high 10 strikeouts. He surrendered five runs though, four of which came in the first three innings–as the strong Seminole lineup made thunderous contact on the pitches they did connect with.

“It took a little bit for me to get in a groove, but it came down to making pitches in big situations that I wasn’t able to do tonight,” Thornton said. “And that was the difference in the game.”

Florida State outfielders Josh Delph and Ben DeLuzio each had three hits and combined to drive in four of the Seminoles’ eight runs to lead the Seminole offensive charge.

Although the Tar Heels have been knocked out of championship contention, they still have one more game to play as pool play finishes up in Durham.

“Tomorrow means a whole lot to us, the way I think we have to look at it,” Coach Fox said after the game. “I have no idea about what the [NCAA Selection Committee] is thinking or any of that, but I think it’s very important for us to win our last game before the NCAA tournament. If nothing else, just to have a win.”

 

Up Next:

The Clemson Tigers (32-26, 17-15) will be their opponent, with first pitch set for 3 p.m.

The Tigers took two of three games from UNC in their series earlier this season, which was played at Clemson.

Game Notes:

  • UNC falls to 1-10 all time against Florida State in the ACC Tournament.
  • The Tar Heel pitchers combined to strike out 17 Seminoles in the game.
  • First Team All-ACC outfielder DJ Stewart went 1-5 for Florida State, striking out twice against Trent Thornton.
  • Landon Lassiter picked up the first hit of the night for the Tar Heels in the fourth inning, when he tripled out to right field.

FINAL BOX SCORE

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/acc-baseball-tournament-bats-fall-flat-tar-heels-downed-by-no-13-fsu

ACC Baseball Tournament: No. 3 Louisville Rallies to Defeat UNC

Rallying from an early 4-0 deficit, the No. 3 Louisville Cardinals defeated the UNC baseball team on Wednesday night by a score of 7-4 in the Tar Heels’ first pool play game of the ACC Tournament at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Tyler Ramirez led off the game with a solo home run, as the Tar Heel offense came out swinging against the Cardinals’ freshman right-hander Sean Leland–adding three more runs in the third inning before Leland could even record an out.

But Louisville came storming back against UNC senior Benton Moss, in what was likely Moss’s final ACC Tournament appearance.

Teammates greet Tyler Ramirez (14) after he led off the game with a home run. (Liz Condo, TheACC.com)

Teammates greet Tyler Ramirez (14) after he led off the game with a home run. (Liz Condo, TheACC.com)

First baseman Brendon McKay kicked off the comeback with a two-run homer off Moss in the fourth. Then after trimming the deficit with another run in the fifth, the Cardinals exploded for four runs in the sixth to take control of the game for good.

“I felt like I had good stuff,” Moss said after the game, “Obviously coming off a little short rest [after pitching Saturday against Virginia]. But still, I felt like a competed and made most of my pitches. I have to give it to McKay, he pretty much had my number all night unfortunately, but it’s all good. I felt like I was hitting most of my spots.”

Moss was replaced on the mound during the sixth inning rally after McKay doubled and later came in to score. He worked 5.1 innings while giving up five runs on five hits–including three to McKay, who came a triple short of hitting for the cycle.

With his team trailing by four runs, reliever Lincoln Henzman–the second freshman pitcher of the night for the Cardinals–took over for Leland with no outs in the third and held strong against the UNC lineup for the next six innings. In total, Henzman allowed no runs on just three hits while striking out six batters.

Missed opportunities will certainly haunt the Tar Heels after this one.

With no outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the first, they came out with nothing to show for it. Catcher Korey Dunbar struck out, and then Leland forced both Logan Warmoth and Joe Dudek to pop out–making Ramirez’s long ball the only damage Louisville suffered in the frame.

Louisville second baseman Sutton Whiting reacts after his RBI double in the fifth. (Liz Condo, TheACC.com)

Louisville second baseman Sutton Whiting reacts after his RBI double in the fifth. (Liz Condo, TheACC.com)

Again in the next inning the Tar Heels had a chance to tack on a couple more tallies when they put runners on first and second base with only one out.

As has been the case all year long though, the hitters failed to capitalize–as Alex Raburn and Landon Lassiter each flew out to end the threat.

“We needed to score more runs. Obviously you can’t ever have enough runs, especially against a good lineup,” UNC Head Coach Mike Fox said.

“We missed an incredible opportunity in the first two innings,” Fox said, “That somewhat has been the tale of our season, where we have a chance to go up two or three runs there early. And we did have a big inning, but we could have had more than one, and I think you have to in order to beat a team like Louisville.”

During the ninth inning, the Tar Heels final chance to make a comeback of their own, Louisville closer Zack Burdi retired the side in order–getting Skye Bolt to pop out to end the game.

After the game, Coach Fox couldn’t help but to tip his hat to a great Louisville team hailed by many to be a favorite to win not only the ACC Championship, but the National Championship as well.

“I don’t know that anybody expected anybody in our league, whether its a first year team or a team that’s been in the league for 100 years, to go 25-5 in our league,” said Coach Fox, “That’s a tremendous accomplishment. Some of the best teams we’ve ever had in the ACC haven’t been able to do that.”

“It’s quite impressive,” he added.

Up Next:

Next on the schedule for the Diamond Heels is a matchup with No. 13 Florida State (39-18, 18-13 ACC). The teams have not played yet this season. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Game Notes:

  • With his home run in the first inning Tyler Ramirez reached base for the 26th consecutive game.
  • UNC second baseman Alex Raburn picked up his second multi-hit game in as many days–going 2-5 on Wednesday after a 3-5 performance against Virginia Tech on Tuesday.
  • Carolina went just 1-10 at the plate with runners in scoring position.
  • Benton Moss’s seven strikeouts gave him 318 for his career–good enough for second in UNC history.

FINAL BOX SCORE

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/acc-baseball-tournament-no-3-louisville-rallies-to-defeat-unc

Gallen Pitches UNC to Victory, Keeps Season Alive

Facing a potential “do or die” scenario on Tuesday, Zac Gallen led the struggling UNC baseball team to their most important victory of the season–a 5-3 win over the Virginia Tech Hokies in Durham that puts the Tar Heels into the pool play portion of the ACC Tournament.

Had Carolina (33-22, 14-16 ACC) lost, there was speculation that they may not be selected for the NCAA tournament.

Those worries can likely be put to bed now, thanks to Gallen’s clutch performance–which also preserves the thin UNC pitching staff for the rest of the week.

Gallen (4-3) worked 6.2 innings for the game, surrendering just two runs on eight hits. He struck out seven hitters in the process.

Versatile infielder Alex Raburn had three hits for the Tar Heels to lead the offensive charge. Landon Lassiter had a pair of doubles and Skye Bolt picked up two RBIs to help the cause.

Virginia Tech’s season is likely over, as they finish the year at 27-27 overall and 13-17 in the ACC.

The Tar Heels’ All-ACC second team starting pitcher came out on top this time in his pitching rematch with Hokie left-hander Kit Scheetz.

“The main thing for me is just to try to keep my composure”, Gallen said after the game.

“If I make my pitches most of the time they’re going to get themselves out. I just try to stay out of the middle of the plate and make them hit my pitches, not try to give up any free hits. So luckily today I made some good pitches. I got some help from the defense, they really bailed me out,” he added.

via Smith Cameron Productions

via Smith Cameron Productions

Gallen allowed a lead-off single to Virginia Tech center fielder Saige Jenco in the first inning, but then struck out the side–in a moment that foreshadowed what was to come.

Trouble looked like it had found Gallen in the second when he surrendered a base hit and a pair of walks to load the bases for Virginia Tech. Jenco then picked up his second single of the day, striking first blood for the Hokies.

But the sophomore from Gibbsboro, New Jersey remained calm and got shortstop Alex Perez to fly out and end the inning without any further damage being done.

The Hokies had another chance to break the game open in the top of the fourth–putting runners on first and third with just one out–but once again Gallen kept his composure and escaped the jam.

Not until the seventh did he leave the game after giving up the Hokies’ second run. Jenco struck again with a two-out double, which was directly followed by an RBI single from Perez.

Reliable senior Trevor Kelley then took over for Gallen to pick up the final out of the frame.

After letting the Hokies creep to within one run in the top of the eighth, Kelley found himself in a difficult position with runners on first and third and only one out.

“It was a big situation. I had to get like two back to back strikeouts. And for me I’m just I’m more of a ground ball guy. And to get two strikeouts in a big situation, that’s very rewarding for me,” Kelley said.

The senior from Wilmington then returned to the mound and worked a scoreless ninth inning to seal the deal–striking out two more Hokies on his way to the save.

Meanwhile, Scheetz (3-4), who defeated Gallen by going seven strong innings on April 17, lasted just four on Tuesday.

Although he kept the Tar Heel offense at bay during the first three frames, he was done in by his defense in the bottom half of the fourth–as the momentum shifted completely.

via Smith Cameron Productions

via Smith Cameron Productions

Carolina got a huge break when Jenco dropped a routine fly ball in center field hit by Landon Lassiter to lead off the inning. Lassiter advanced all the way to third on the error, coming home to tie the game soon after on a sacrifice fly from Skye Bolt.

Two more runs would score for UNC–on a pair of RBI singles from freshman roommates Logan Warmoth and Zack Gahagan–to give Gallen a comfortable cushion to work with on the mound the rest of the way.

An RBI groundout from Skye Bolt in the next inning proved to be the difference in a win that did not come easy.

A perfectly executed suicide squeeze play by Eli Sutherland in the Carolina half of the eighth sent Korey Dunbar across the plate for the fifth, and final, Tar Heel run of the game.

“[We’ve] got to play under pressure,” said UNC Head Coach Mike Fox, “Our team has competed pretty much all year, we just haven’t been great”

“But we got the win that we needed to….we’ll focus on that. We need to continue to get better as a team, certainly,” he added.

Up Next:

The Tar Heels are now a part of a four team group that includes No. 3 Louisville, No. 13 Florida State, and Clemson.

UNC will play Louisville on Wednesday at 7 p.m., Florida State on Thursday at 7 p.m., and Clemson on Friday at 3 p.m.

The team with the best record in the group after Friday will play in Saturday’s ACC Championship Game.

Game Notes:

  • The game was delayed by rain for approximately 40 minutes during the seventh inning.
  • In 2013, these two teams met in the ACC Championship, rather than the second play-in game. UNC won that matchup 4-1.
  • Zac Gallen had not picked up a win away from Boshamer Stadium until Tuesday.
  • Brendon Hayden, the Virginia Tech first baseman, went 0-5 in this game after hitting a home run in each of the two games his team played against UNC earlier in the year.

FINAL BOX SCORE

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/gallen-pitches-unc-to-victory-keeps-season-alive