NO. 6 baseball Tar Heels sweep Tigers with late-inning rally

North Carolina pushed across three runs in the top of the ninth to extend the game before going ahead 6-5 in the 11th to sweep the opening ACC series Sunday at No. 17 Clemson. Mike Zolk drove home the winning run with a single in the 11th as Carolina improved to 13-2 on the year and swept the opening ACC series for the first time since 2007. Trailing 5-2 going […]

North Carolina pushed across three runs in the top of the ninth to extend the game before going ahead 6-5 in the 11th to sweep the opening ACC series Sunday at No. 17 Clemson. Mike Zolk drove home the winning run with a single in the 11th as Carolina improved to 13-2 on the year and swept the opening ACC series for the first time since 2007.

Trailing 5-2 going into their final at bat the first two Tar Heels of the inning reached safely thanks to walks by Parks Jordan and Chaz Frank against reliever Patrick Andrews. Clemson went to the bullpen to get right-hander Matt Campbell who went 3-2 against Tommy Coyle before missing to load the bases.

Colin Moran stepped in and hit a rocket down the first base line but first baseman Jon McGibbon made a back-handed snag to keep the damage to just one run. Jacob Stallings followed by sending a single into left field scoring Frank from third and left fielder Dominic Attansio bobbled the ball allowing Coyle to score from second and tie the game at 5-5.

Hobbs Johnson came on for the bottom of the ninth and retired the first man he faced before allowing a walk and a single. Johnson buckled down and forced a high chopper to second base that picked up the second out but put the winning run on third base.

For the fifth time in six days the Tar Heels went to Michael Morin in a crucial situation and the junior stopper struck out Thomas Brittle to end the threat.

Carolina went quietly in the 10th before the Tigers loaded the bases with one out in their half of the 10th. Spencer Kieboom stepped in looking to be the hero but Morin coerced a routine ground ball up the middle where Tommy Coyle was waiting to corral the ball, step on the bag and fire to first to complete the inning-ending double play.

Colin Moran opened the 11th with another big hit when he sent a double into the right center field gap. Reliever Jonathan Meyer came in to try and get the Tigers out of trouble and struck out the first two batters he faced.

Freshman Mike Zolk battled Meyer into a full count and turned on a Meyer offering and deposited a RBI single into right field.

Morin would retire the Tigers in order in the bottom of the 11th with a pair of punch outs to claim the win and give Carolina the 3-0 sweep.

The Tar Heels put 10 runners on through the first four innings but were only able to push across one run. Zolk opened the second with a triple down the line in right before scoring on a RBI ground out by Brian Holberton to give UNC a 1-0 lead in the second.

Clemson answered with a single run in the fourth off of starter Chris O’Brien to even things up and threatened to tack on even more but Shane Taylor struck out a pair of batters with a pair of runners in scoring position.

A solo home run by Jacob Stallings in the top of the fifth put Carolina back in front, 2-1, but the lead would not last long.

Clemson’s Richie Shaffer opened the fifth with a single against Taylor who looked to avoid trouble with a pair of fly outs but a walk would end his outing. Left-hander Tate Parrish had a 2-2 count against the left-handed hitting McGibbon before just missing with a pitch on the outside corner. McGibbon turned on Parrish’s next offering and sent a 2-run double into the right field corner to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead.

Clemson would tack on another run in the fifth inning to give starter Kevin Pohle a 5-2 advantage to work with. After a 1-2-3 inning in the sixth, the Tigers added another run thanks to a solo home run by Jason Stolz.

Carolina was unable to get a runner past second base in either the seventh or eighth innings before sparking the rally in the ninth.

Morin notched the win to move to 1-0 on the year and factored in all three decisions in the sweep of Clemson. Morin’s final line was 2.1 innings pitched allowing just one hit, a walk and three strike outs.

Colin Moran, Jacob Stallings and Mike Zolk all tallied three hits apiece for the Tar Heels who outhit the Tigers 12-10 on the day.

The Tar Heels were patient at the plate for the second straight day as they drew nine walks after earning eight free passes Saturday. For the year Carolina has drawn 92 walks to 86 strikeouts.

Carolina will have a day off Monday before continuing its five-game road trip with a visit to UNC Greensboro on Tuesday.

- Release

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