BSB: Carolina drops opener to Charleston, 7-4
Posted February 15
No. 12 North Carolina dropped its 2014 season opener to the College of Charleston, 7-4, Saturday afternoon at Patriots Point. Tom Zengel's two-run double helped the Tar Heels build an early 4-0 lead, but the Cougars rallied for five runs in the sixth and added two in the seventh to spring the upset.
Junior Benton Moss started on the mound for the Tar Heels (0-1) and sailed through his first four innings, retiring all 12 batters he faced. After stranding four runners in the first three innings, Carolina broke through with four in the fourth.
Parks Jordan led off the frame with a walk before Wood Myers singled off CofC starter Nathan Helvey two batters later. Zengel then roped a double off the wall in right center to plate Jordan and Myers to give Carolina a 2-0 lead. Adrian Chacon then made it 3-0 when his hard-hit grounder got past Carl Wise at third for a run-scoring double. After Tyler Ramirez singled home Chacon to make it 4-0, the Tar Heels were off and running.
Moss ran into trouble in the fifth, but escaped unscathed thanks to an outstanding diving stop by Myers at second. With runners on first and second with one out, Nick Pappas ripped a grounder up the middle that Myers speared and flipped to Michael Russell covering for the second out of the frame. Moss then got Alex Pastorius to ground into a fielder's choice to end the threat.
He was not as fortunate in the sixth, however, as Carolina gave Charleston (1-0) two extra outs and the Cougars took advantage. Blake Butler and Gunnar Heidt opened the inning with consecutive singles before Brandon Murray grounded to Joe Dudek at first. Dudek was unable to corral the bouncing ball and all three runners were safe.
Wise was up next, and he lifted a fly ball to right that looked like a sure out. But with a stiff wind blowing toward right, Ramirez was unable to make the play and the ball fell just inside the foul line for an RBI single. After a Ben Boykin sacrifice fly made it 4-2, Moss was lifted in favor of sophomore right-hander Reilly Hovis.
Hovis quickly got ahead 0-2 on Charleston's Brandon Glazer, but the redshirt junior lifted a 1-2 pitch toward right that carried over the wall just inside the foul pole to put the hosts in front, 5-4.
CofC added two more in the seventh and Carolina was unable to solve Charleston freshman righty Bailey Ober until the ninth. The 6-8 freshman retired the first 13 batters he faced before allowing back-to-back singles to Myers and Zengel with one out in the ninth. But defensive replacement Morgan Phillips made a diving catch of a Zach Daly liner to center and Ober got Ramirez swinging to end it.
Six true freshmen made their Carolina debuts Saturday as starters Chacon, Dudek, Myers and Ramirez were joined by relief pitchers Zach Rice and Spencer Trayner. Freshmen accounted for six of UNC's nine hits, while Rice and Trayner retired the three total batters they faced.
The Tar Heels are playing in South Carolina this weekend due to the extreme winter weather that hit Chapel Hill Wednesday and Thursday and left Boshamer Stadium unplayable.
Game two of the three-game series is set for Sunday afternoon at 2. Carolina's Trent Thornton will face Charleston junior Taylor Clarke.