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North Carolina

Tar Heels fall to No. 1 Virginia, 3-2

Posted April 19

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— Brandon Downes drove in three runs and Nathan Kirby outdueled Trent Thornton as No. 1 Virginia topped North Carolina 3-2 Friday night at Davenport Field. Landon Lassiter and Michael Russell had two hits each for the Tar Heels, who rallied to tie it in the sixth before Virginia scored the game-winner in the bottom half of the frame.

Virginia (32-6, 15-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) struck first in the bottom of the second when Downes drove an 0-1 pitch from Thornton out to left for his fifth home run of the year. It was the second homer allowed by Thornton (7-2) in 2014, and just the fourth extra-base hit against the Charlotte, N.C., sophomore.

And it seemed like it would be enough for the Cavaliers, as Kirby held the Tar Heels scoreless through the first five innings despite Carolina getting the leadoff man on base three times.

But UNC (22-16, 9-10 ACC) equalized against the sophomore lefty in the sixth. Trailing 2-0, UNC put two on with one out when Skye Bolt led off the inning with a walk and moved to third on Lassiter's double to the gap in left center. Parks Jordan then plated Bolt on a chopper to first before Lassiter scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 2.

The tie would be short-lived, however, as the Wahoos used a perfect hit-and-run in the bottom of the sixth to put runners on the corners with no one out. John La Prise's single moved Nick Howard to third and Downes' sac fly made it 3-2, despite Bolt getting a second out with a bullet to catch La Prise trying to move up.

Carolina's best chance in the late innings came in the eighth, when Kirby departed with two outs and a runner on second after Wood Myers led off the frame with a single and moved to second on a Bolt sacrifice. It was nearly a bunt hit, but Kirby beat Bolt to the bag by a half-step for the first out of the eighth. Kirby (8-1) then struck out Tom Zengel for the third time before giving way to Whit Mayberry. Mayberry got Lassiter to swing and miss for the final out of the eighth, preserving the Virginia lead.

Trevor Kelley kept the Tar Heels within reach with two scoreless innings of relief, but Howard - the UVa first baseman/closer - struck out the side in the ninth to end it.

Russell led off the game with a double off Kirby that nearly left the yard and added his team-high 14th double of the year in the third.

Carolina will look to even the series Saturday afternoon at 1 when Benton Moss takes the mound opposite Virginia's Josh Sborz. That game will be televised live on the ACC Regional Sports Networks.

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCSU 24
GASO 23
Final
DUKE 52
ELON 13
 
Final
UNC 56
LBRTY 29
 
7:05pm Tonight
NOR 4
DUR 1
 
3rd
ECU 37
NCCU 7
 
Final
TOR 2
NYY 0
Final
CWS 6
DET 3
Final
STL 1
CHC 5
Final
PIT 3
CIN 2
Final
BAL 3
MIN 2
 
Final
TAM 7
BOS 0
 
10th
KAN 1
CLE 1
 
9th
CWS 4
DET 8
 
Final
ATL 0
MIA 4
 
Final
NYM 2
PHI 7
 
Final
HOU 2
TEX 0
9th
ARI 0
COL 2
 
7th
STL 4
CHC 1
 
7th
SDP 1
LOS 1
 
5th
SFG 3
MIL 0
 
4th
ANA 0
OAK 0
 
5th
SEA 0
WAS 2
 
Final
MICH 52
APPST 14
Final
NAVY 17
OSU 34
Final
UAB 48
TROY 10
Final
UVA 20
UCLA 28
Final
PURD 43
WMICH 34
Final
NCSU 24
GASO 23
Final
UMASS 7
BC 30
Final
NW 24
CAL 31
Final
NEB 55
FATL 7
Final
UMO 27
MARS 42
Final
ND 48
RICE 17
Final
MIZZ 38
SDST 18
Final
ALA 33
WVU 23
Final
AUB 45
ARK 21
Final
STAN 45
UCD 0
Final
UGA 45
CLEM 21
 
Final
UNC 56
LBRTY 29
 
Final
KSU 14
OHIO 17
 
4th
OKLA 48
LATU 10
 
4th
KST 55
SAUST 16
 
4th
USC 52
FRES 13
 
4th
MSST 48
SMISS 0
 
3rd
OKST 17
FSU 20
 
4th
TEX 28
UNT 0
 
4th
NMU 21
UTEP 24
 
8:05pm Tonight
UF 0
IDAHO 0
2nd
LSU 7
WISC 17
 
10:30pm Tonight
OREG
SD
10:30pm Tonight
HAW
WASH
Final
DUKE 52
ELON 13
 
3rd
ECU 37
NCCU 7
 
7:05pm Tonight
NOR 4
DUR 1