TAR HEELS OUTLAST GAMECOCKS 6-5 IN GAME ONE OF SUPER REGIONAL
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Skye
Bolt’s two-out RBI single scored Parks Jordan with the winning run in
the bottom of the ninth inning, as North Carolina outlasted South
Carolina, 6-5, in game one of the best-of-3 Super Regional Saturday
afternoon at Boshamer Stadium.
Jordan, the No. 9 hitter in the
Tar Heel lineup, led off the ninth with a single to center off Gamecock
closer Tyler Webb and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Webb got
the second out on a fly ball then, after walking first-round draft pick
Colin Moran intentionally, surrendered Bolt’s grounder through the hole
between first and second into right field. Sean Sullivan’s throw to the
plate was late, sending the Gamecocks into an elimination game on
The Gamecocks outhit the Tar Heels on the day, 15-11,
but stranded a dozen runners and committed three errors, leading to a
pair of unearned runs. North Carolina improved to 56-9 on the season,
while South Carolina dropped to 42-19.
The Gamecocks broke out
in front with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning off Tar
Heel lefthander Kent Emanuel. Graham Saiko led off with a single
to center and Chase Vergason followed with a single to right. One out
later, LB Dantzler coaxed a walk to load the bases. Grayson Greiner put
the Gamecocks on top with a two-run single to left, scoring Saiko and
North Carolina came right back with a pair of runs in
the bottom of the inning. Landon Lassiter stroked a one-out single to
center and scored on Moran’s double into the left field corner to cut
the Gamecocks’ lead in half. One out later, Cody Stubbs lined a ball to
Saiko, but the Carolina left fielder was unable to handle it for a
two-base error, tying the game at 2.
Carolina jumped back in
front in the second. Kyle Martin, the Most Outstanding Player of the
Columbia Regional, led off the inning with a single to right. He
advanced to second on Tanner English’s sacrifice bunt and scored on
Saiko’s single to center, putting the Gamecocks back on top, 3-2.
Carolina chased Emanuel, a third-round pick in the MLB Draft, in the
third inning. Joey Pankake led off the frame with a booming home run
over the left field wall to put the Gamecocks on top 4-2. Pankake’s
homer came on a 1-2 pitch and was his 11th round tripper of the season.
Dantzler followed with a single to right and Greiner reached on an
error. Emanuel left the contest after Max Schrock’s flyout to center
advanced both runners. Reliever Chris Munnelly avoided any further
damage by getting a pair of groundouts to end the inning. Emanuel
surrendered four runs, all earned, on seven hits over 2.1 innings of
work, his shortest start of the season.
North Carolina got that
run right back in the bottom of the third with the help of another
Gamecock miscue. Moran stroked a one-out single to right. With two
outs, Stubbs grounded one just inside the first base bag, past a diving
Martin for a double. Connor Bright fielded the ball cleanly, but his
throw back into the infield went awry for an error, allowing Moran to
score the Tar Heels’ third run of the game.
threatened again in the fourth but came up empty for the first time in
the game. After Munnelly retired the first two batters, Vergason and
Pankake stroked back-to-back singles. Little-used left-hander Tate
Parrish relieved Munnelly to face the left-handed-hitting Dantzler. On
a 3-1 pitch, Dantzler’s deep fly to right was caught at the warning
track, stranding the two runners.
The Gamecocks had another
chance in the sixth. Martin led off with a single and advanced to
second on English’s sacrifice bunt. Saiko walked, but Vergason and
Pankake flied out to end the threat.
North Carolina took the lead
for the first time in its half of the sixth. Bolt led off with a single
to center. Stubbs followed with a double to right, his second two-base
hit of the game, ending the day for Gamecock starter Nolan Belcher.
Adam Westmoreland relieved Belcher and got a groundout before Brian
Holberton laced a single to center, plating both Bolt and Stubbs,
giving UNC a 5-4 advantage.
The Gamecocks used a double play ball
for the third straight inning to end any further damage. Belcher was
tagged for five runs, three earned, on eight hits over 5.0-plus innings
South Carolina threatened again in the seventh.
Dantzler led off with a double to right. Tar Heel head coach Mike Fox
went to the bullpen for the fourth time in the game, bringing in closer
Trent Thornton. Dantzler remained at second on Greiner’s groundout,
then advanced to third on Max Schrock’s fly to right, but was stranded
when Bright grounded out.
The Gamecocks rallied to tie the game
at 5 in the eighth. Martin led off with a single to center, his third
hit of the game. English was unable to get down his third sacrifice of
the contest and struck out, but Saiko singled to center for his third
hit, advancing Martin to second. Vergason lined a ball just out of the
reach of centerfielder Chaz Frank for a double, scoring Martin with the
game-tying run. After Pankake fanned for the second out, Dantzler was
walked intentionally to load the bases, but Greiner flied out to center
to end the inning.
Westmoreland worked 2.2 innings of relief,
allowing one hit and two walks with two strikeouts. Webb (3-3) was
tagged with the loss after allowing one run on two hits in an inning of
relief. Thornton (10-1) worked the final three innings, allowing three
hits and a run with one walk and three strikeouts for the win.