No. 4 North Carolina won its fourth straight game Sunday afternoon at Boshamer Stadium by downing visiting Wright State, 3-0. R.C. Orlan retired all 12 batters he faced to earn his second win of the year and improve the Tar Heels to 5-1 on the season. Click here for a photo gallery.
The Tar Heels ran their shutout streak to 20 consecutive innings by keeping Wright State off the scoreboard Saturday and Sunday along with the final two innings Friday night.
The 20 straight scoreless innings is the longest streak for the Tar Heels since the 2008 squad posted 25 scoreless frames from March 15-19.
Orlan kept his season ERA spotless by tossing four shutout innings as he came on in relief of starter Chris O’Brien who opened the game by tossing four scoreless frames.
Sophomore Tom Zengel paced the offense Sunday with a pair of hits and scored two runs.
O’Brien worked around a leadoff single in both of the opening innings to keep the Raiders off the scoreboard before finding himself in a real jam in the top half of the third.
Wright State notched three consecutive singles to load the bases in the third with one out. O’Brien buckled down and was able to strike out cleanup hitter Tristan Moore before getting a nice play from his defense. Garrett Gray hit a bouncing ball up the middle as shortstop Tommy Coyle ranged to his left and snared the grounder and flipped to Mike Zolk at second base to end the threat.
The Tar Heels carried the momentum into the bottom of the third when Tom Zengel opened the inning by lining a ball down the left field line for a lead off double. Mike Zolk moved Zengel to third with a sacrifice bunt before a throwing error on the pitcher allowed Zengel to score and Parks Jordan reach second base.
A walk to Chaz Frank and a fielder’s choice by Tommy Coyle put runners on first and third with two outs in the inning. With Coyle on the move, Wright State backstop Garrett Gray was unable to corral a Lee Valencheck offering allowing Jordan to score from third before Coyle was cutdown attempting to reach third.
O’Brien worked around another lead off single in the fourth by getting a pair of nice running grabs in the outfield from Frank and Michael Russell before making way for Orlan in the fifth inning.
Zengel got things rolling again in the fifth when he singled to right field but the ball snuck by the right fielder allowing Zengel to get to third with nobody out. A wild pitch would allow Zengel to score with ease and up Carolina’s lead to 3-0.
That is all the Tar Heels would need as Orlan would retire the next nine batters he would face, while striking out three on the day to earn the victory.
Junior right-hander Michael Morin worked a scoreless ninth for his first save of the season as he picked up a pair of strikeouts.
Carolina improves to 5-1 on the year and has won four straight, including 21 consecutive non-conference series.
The Tar Heels will host St. John’s in their first midweek tilt of the year on Tuesday at 3 p.m. before welcoming in USC for a three-game set Friday in the final non-conference series of the year.