Top-ranked Tar Heels beat Wolfpack in first game of series
Posted April 26, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — The top-ranked North Carolina baseball team continued to show their strength Friday night, taking a 7-1 win over the sixth-ranked N.C. State Wolfpack at Doak Field at Dail Park.
In front of the second-largest crowd in the history of the park, the Wolfpack saw their nation's-longest 15-game win streak come to an end.
The Tar Heels improved to 41-3 on the year, with an 18-2 ACC record. State fell to 33-11 and 14-8 in the conference.
The Tar Heels' bats started strong by scoring early and often, scoring five runs in the first three innings.
As the game progressed, UNC pitcher Kent Emanuel silenced all Wolfpack comeback attempts to get the win in the first game of the series.
The Carolina scoring started in the first inning, when Chaz Frank and Landon Lassiter each singled to open the game. Batting third, Colin Moran sent a three-run homer over the wall to quickly put the team on the board.
Later in the inning, Brian Holberton singled to left, bringing an early end to the outing of Wolfpack pitcher Ryan Wilkins. He retired just one batter before being pulled in exchange for D.J. Thomas. Thomas then recorded two strikeouts to end the inning.
In the bottom of the second, Emanuel found himself in a tight position when State loaded the bases. With two outs, Emanuel struck out Trea Turner to escape the inning and keep the Tar Heels in command.
Thomas earned three strikeouts on the night and did his best to control the hot Tar Heel bats, but Holberton made good contact in the third, hitting another home run for Carolina.
Later in the inning, with two runners on base, left-fielder Parks Jordan grounded to short and the Wolfpack's failed double-play attempt brought in Cody Stubbs to raise the Carolina lead to 5-0.
In the top of the sixth, another error gave Carolina a run. With Lassiter at bat, Wolfpack catcher Brett Austin surrendered a passed ball, allowing Mike Zolk to come home from third. The score was 6-0.
The lone Wolfpack run came in the seventh. With the bases loaded for State, Jake Flincher flied out to left, allowing Bryan Adametz to tag up and score.
Another run was allowed by Thomas in the eighth, when Lassiter recorded a double to score Matt Roberts.
"A couple balls didn't fall for our offense today, but we swung the bats pretty well," Thomas said. "Hopefully we can come back tomorrow and a couple more balls will drop for us and a couple more calls will go our way."
Emanuel recorded nine strikeouts in eight innings, throwing 128 pitches. The last five outs for the Tar Heels were strikeouts.
Emanuel attributed his late-game success to finding a rhythm and facing Wolfpack fatigue. Still, he mentioned that he had to fight through the start of the game, giving up more hits than he may have liked.
"I was really struggling to find my zone," Emanuel said. Still, he posted solid stats and his team helped him to one of his biggest wins of the year.
While the Tar Heels are a good ball club with an impressive record, the Wolfpack acknowledged they also have a talented team, and they are not getting down on themselves after the loss.
"We've been playing well," Thomas said. "I don't know how many games we had won in a row, but we were pretty confident coming in."
Fans at Doak Field recorded an attendance mark of 3,048, good for the second most in the history of the park. The highest mark came in 2007, when State recorded an attendance of 3,109. This mark also came in a duel between the Pack and the Heels.
The two teams meet again Saturday at Doak Field, with the game set to start at 6:30 p.m. The series finale for the teams will be played Sunday night at 7 p.m.