Bolt walk-off gives Heels 6-5 win over USC
Posted June 8, 2013
Updated June 9, 2013
North Carolina overcame early pitching trouble and a late South Carolina comeback for a 6-5 win Saturday in game one of the Chapel Hill super regional.
With two outs and two strikes, UNC's Skye Bolt hit an RBI walk-off single for the win in the bottom of the ninth.
"It's every guys dream as a hitter," said Bolt. "I love being in that situation, I thrive off of it."
South Carolina tied the game at 5 all in the top of the eighth after an RBI double from Chase Vergason. Carolina closer Trent Thornton went 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth to give the Heels the last chance in regulation.
"We know that we can do it but who wants to play 14 innings when you can do it in nine and get the victory?," Bolt said.
The Gamecocks scored four runs, including a Joey Pankake home run, in the first three innings to end North Carolina starter Kent Emanuel’s day after just 2.1 innings. Emanuel allowed seven hits, four earned runs and struck out one batter in his shortest outing all season. Monday’s starter RHP Chris Munnelly came in to take over.
Munnelly put two on in the top of the fourth when Fox opted for lefty Tate Parrish. Parrish got the Heels out of the inning, leaving South Carolina scoreless for the first time all game.
North Carolina answered USC with two runs in the bottom of the first and brought it within one run at 4-3 in the bottom of the third. Gamecock first baseman Kyle Martin kept the Heels from tying the game in the bottom of the fourth with a line drive grab at first for a double play.
After blanking South Carolina in the fourth, fifth and sixth, the Tar Heels stepped up offensively in the bottom of the sixth for their first lead of the game.
Cody Stubbs dropped a double on the warning track in right field to advance Skye Bolt to third with no outs. South Carolina opted to pull starter Nolan Belcher for Adam Westmoreland but the damage was done. Brian Holberton hit a 2 RBI single to put the Tar Heels ahead 5-4.
"Incredible baseball game," said head coach Mike Fox. "We feel very fortunate to be able to have won. A couple clutch wings of the bat for our guys."
Chris McCue came in for the Tar Heels in the fifth, pitching two scoreless innings. Trent Thornton entered in relief in the seventh.
North Carolina will start Hobbs Johnson in game two of super regional play. The Heels face South Carolina Saturday at 1:05 p.m. at Boshamer Stadium.