North Carolina

UNC claims ACC title with 4-1 win over Virginia Tech

Posted May 26, 2013

North Carolina poses with the ACC championship trophy after defeating Virginia Tech 4-1 in Sundays title game at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

— With tired arms mounting for North Carolina, head coach Mike Fox turned to freshman Taylore Cherry Sunday in the ACC championship game against Virginia Tech. Making his first collegiate start, he responded with five solid innings that paved the way for the Tar Heels’ first conference title since 2007.

Meanwhile, the Tar Heels offense provided just enough support for the young starter and weary bullpen as they scored early to calm things down, then added some insurance late in a 4-1 win.

The conference title is the first in six years for UNC and their sixth as a program.

"This tournament is extremely difficult with all the great teams we have in our league," said UNC head coach Mike Fox. "It's a great accomplishment to navigate your way through this tournament and come out on top.

Following a 20-pitch first inning, the 6-foot-8 righty settled in by simply throwing strikes and pitching to contact. Cherry, who had thrown just 3.1 innings all year, did not record a strikeout on the afternoon, but walked just two and threw more pitches Sunday (90) than in all his previous five outings combined (73).

"The story was that he was prepared," said Fox. "You never know when your moment is going to be and when your time is gong to be. He's a great teammate and I couldn't be happier for him to get an opportunity to do what he did."

Cherry estimated that he only threw 10-or-so off-speed pitches all game, opting to stick with his fastball.

"In the end, I'm just trying to throw strikes and get outs," Cherry said. "(The fastball) was about all that was working for me so you might as well keep going back to it."

Saturday night’s table-setter, Landon Lassiter, again provided the spark for the UNC offense. He came around to score in the first inning after a one-out single then doubled in the third inning before being escorted home on a groundball by Skye Bolt. Lassiter later reached to lead off the eighth inning and scored his third run of the day on a throwing error after Bolt dropped a sacrifice bunt.

"Landon has had an unbelievable year for us," Fox said. "It didn't surprise me that he came out and had a great game for us."

Bolt went hitless on the afternoon but reached three times and claimed two RBIs. Lassiter went 2-for-3, was hit by a pitch and reached four times.

Virginia Tech’s offense amassed six hits on the day and challenged the Tar Heels in the middle innings.

Their lone run came in the sixth inning after a leadoff double by Tyler Horan. That was the last batter Cherry faced. Trevor Kelley, making his team-leading 28th appearance, gave up a single and hit a batter before inducing a double play that allowed Horan to score.

The Hokies also loaded the bases in the fifth inning with two outs, but Cherry won a nine-pitch battle against three-hole hitter Chad Pinder.

"I was just thinking about beating him," Cherry said of the at bat.

"I didn't come up clutch in certain situations that I have in the past," Pinder said. "It was a shame, but it's baseball. If you are not getting those clutch hits against a team like North Carolina it's hard to get a win."

Cherry earned the win his first ever collegiate decision while Kelley notched the four-inning save. The Tar Heels bullpen closed the tournament with 22.2 consecutive scoreless innings.

"Our bullpen certainly was the story," Fox said. "They've been goo for us all year. They were fresh and ready and they were verr aggressive attacking the strike zone and trusting their pitches." 

First baseman Cody Stubbs was named the tournament MVP.

Sunday’s game was played in front of 8,697 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park – a new ACC Tournament record.

UNC, hoping for the nation’s top seed in the NCAA tournament, will learn their fate Monday. The ACC as a conference is expected to get at least three of the eight national seeds in the NCAA tournament.

50 Comments

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  • The Greatest Ever May 27, 2013

    Way to go guys!

  • Rapid Deployment May 27, 2013

    Wow, guess I should have known the civility couldn't last. I wonder if we were to suddenly find outselves in a national disaster, would we still behave in such a divisive manner. Would we help each other (like those people affected by the tornado in the miswest, or just try to identify what school a victim favored before deciding to be a good Samaritan or not. Would you honor a veteran today if you knew he/she attended another school than your favorite. Oh well, Happy Memorial Day to everyone. Hope you have a great day.

  • rduguyhere May 27, 2013

    View quoted thread


    Well, according to the Wuffus fannus, anything less than not sitting on every blade of grass and putting at least 2 people in every seat means that there was "no one" there. LOL

    Perhaps they are just still mad.?..

  • rduguyhere May 27, 2013

    View quoted thread


    Well, you know that every State fan's idea of success (no matter how bad their team's suk or how crass their fans actually are) is to pack (no pun intended) as many people into the seats as they possibly can and then yell their dear little hearts as loud as they can. Then turn to other teams in the country and tell them that they are the best fans in the world because of it. And tell those other teams that they are the worst fans in the world and their teams suk because of it and because they don't do the same thing....ie.... people in seats/yelling until they burst blood vessels on the sides of their heads.

    I am ok if they want to think that way. LOL

  • rduguyhere May 27, 2013

    View quoted thread


    And beating a dead horse will get you, your team, and your fanbase nowhere. Geez....

  • BattlingBishop 5 May 27, 2013

    View quoted thread


    "Sundays game was played in front of 8,697 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park a new ACC Tournament record."

    ?

  • Sports Talk Only May 27, 2013

    Carolina's resiliency in the tournament should give them much confidence heading into NCAA play. They know how to win. Great tournament from them, State, AND Va. Tech.

  • RDI762 May 27, 2013

    ^ This thread would be on page 25 right now and Moduke, Kmor and their band of misfits would not be MIA.

  • vampireswaiting May 27, 2013

    View quoted thread


    I wonder how civil they would have been if Carolina would have lost Sat. or lost on Sunday?

  • mxteam44 May 27, 2013

    View quoted thread


    +100! Especially the very first sentence!

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