The North Carolina baseball team’s ninth inning rally fell short Tuesday night in Greenville as the Tar Heels fell to the East Carolina Pirates 3-2 to drop to 23-18 on the year.

The Tar Heels are developing a dangerous habit. For the sixth game in succession, Carolina has trailed early and been forced to play from behind.

Against ECU, it was a wild pitch by Taylore Cherry that handed the Pirates the opening run in the third inning. In the bottom of the third, the Pirate defense robbed the Tar Heels when Ian Townsend leapt above the outer wall to rob the home run from Korey Dunbar that would have tied the contest.

The Tar Heels did, however, knot it up in the fifth thanks to the longball, as Landon Lassiter drove his first home run of the year out to left field with one out.

But the Pirates jumped out to a 3-1 advantage in the eight inning after picking apart Carolina pitcher Trevor Kelley with some methodical hitting. Those insurance runs proved to be the difference as the Tar Heels failed to come all the way back in a last-ditch effort in the final inning.

It was East Carolina’s first victory over Carolina in five years. Next up for UNC is a home game against No. 30 Liberty Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Boshamer Stadium.