No. 5 Tar Heels take series in walk-off fashion

April 1, 2012 

From staff and wire reports

Sophomore Parks Jordan lined a single into left field and Michael Russell raced around from second base to score the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth Sunday afternoon as No. 5 North Carolina downed Wake Forest, 4-3. The Tar Heels captured their fourth straight series to open ACC play for the first time since 1990 and have won all seven series to open 2012.

North Carolina (22-6, 9-3 ACC) carried a 3-2 advantage into the final inning and was one out away from locking up another series win until Wake Forest catcher Brett Armour battled Tar Heels closer Michael Morin for nine pitches before lining a double into the left field corner.

Evan Stephens then dropped down a drag bunt that Morin fielded and attempted to make an off-balance throw to first but the throw sailed over first baseman Cody Stubbs’ head allowing Armour to score and tie the game at 3-3.

Morin picked up the final out of the frame before Michael Russell opened the bottom half with a single lined through the left side. Russell then stole second base and Mike Zolk went down swinging for the first out of the inning. Pinch hitter Tom Zengel was issued an intentional walk putting Parks Jordan in the batter’s box.

Jordan slapped the first offering from right-hander Jack Fischer into left field and Russell scored from second to give North Carolina the 4-3 lead.

The Tar Heels received an outstanding start from freshman right-hander Benton Moss who struck out nine batter over five innings of work. Moss allowed four hits and two runs, only one of which was earned.

The Tar Heels captured their fourth straight series to open ACC play for the first time since 1990 and have won all seven series to open the year.

Duke 4, No. 21 Georgia Tech 3: With Duke clinging to a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, Anthony D’Alessandro caught a fly ball in left and then gunned down Brandon Thomas at the plate to give the Blue Devils the win at Russ Chandler Stadium in Atlanta, Ga.

Thomas doubled down the left field line to start the ninth for the Yellow Jackets. He then moved to third on a groundout to short. First baseman Jake Davies sent a fly ball to left where D’Alessandro made the catch. D’Alessandro, who had just entered the game as a defensive substitution in the ninth, then threw a bullet that took one hop to catcher Mike Rosenfeld to get Thomas at the plate to end the game.

Freshman Andrew Istler (2-1) had an outstanding performance out of the bullpen for the Blue Devils. Istler threw a season-high 4.1 innings and held the Jackets to one run on six hits to pick up his second win of the season. David Putman then came on in relief of Istler with one out in the ninth and got Davies to fly out to left to start the game-ending double play. It was the third save of the year for Putman and the fifth of his career. Robert Huber started for Duke and held Georgia Tech to two runs on five hits in four innings of work.

Lumpa led the Blue Devils at the plate, finishing 3-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. The three hits were a career high for Lumpa. Rosenfeld went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, while Perkins was 1-for-3 with an RBI. McCabe added a hit and scored twice, Perez had an RBI and Piwnica-Worms and shortstop Angelo La Bruna both had a hit for Duke.

Josh Heddinger (1-3) took the loss after allowing one run on two hits in three innings of relief.

East Carolina 6, Alabama-Birmingham 5 (13): Ben Fultz delivered a game-winning sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 13th to give the Pirates (19-8, 4-2 C-USA) a victory and series sweep over UAB (17-12, 2-4 C-USA) at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium in Greenville.

With the game knotted at five heading to the bottom of the 13th, Drew Reynolds was hit by a Ryan Nance pitch to start the frame. Corey Thompson followed by delivering a single to right-field on a perfectly-executed hit-and-run play. The base knock put runners at the corners with nobody out. The Blazers elected to intentionally walk John Wooten to set up force plays at every bag before Fultz followed with a fly ball to center, plenty deep to plate Reynolds, who tagged up from third for the game-winning run.

Reynolds (2-0) earned the victory for the Pirates, tossing four shutout innings of relief where he struck out a career-best six batters. Nance (2-1) suffered the loss for the Blazers after giving up four runs on five hits, walking two, and striking out three in 4 2/3 frames.

The Pirates recorded their seventh-straight win at home, fifth come from behind victory when trailing after six innings and improved to 7-3 in one-run games on the season. Offensively they pounded out 11 hits, nine after the sixth inning, with Bass (two hits), Reynolds (three) and Wooten (two) each collecting multiple base knocks.

N.C. Central 9, Florida A&M 5: Behind junior Luis Diaz’s 3-for-4 effort with an inside the park home run, triple, three RBIs, and three runs scored, the Eagles earned the series sweep over the Rattlers with a victory to extend the winning streak to four games at Moore-Kittles Field in Tallahassee, Fla.

The win wraps up the first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference sweep at the Division I level for the Eagles.

The Eagles (8-22 overall, 6-6 MEAC) were led by Diaz, who finished the three game set 7-for-11 (.636) with a home run, three triples, a double, five RBIs, and eight runs scored.

Simpson was right behind him at 7-for-14 with 4 RBIs and three runs scored. Marrow was 6-for-13 (.462) with five runs scored and two RBIs, while going 3-for-5 with two runs scored Sunday.

Ruben Rios earned his first win at N.C. Central by going six innings, scattering eight hits and allowing only three earned runs with three strikeouts. Russell earned his first save of the season going three innings for the maroon and gray allowing only two hits in his relief effort.

Softball

No. 22 Florida State broke open a tight game, scoring four runs in the sixth inning to put away No. 23 North Carolina, 8-3, at JoAnne Graf Field.

North Carolina (23-9, 3-2 ACC) bounced back to drop the Seminoles, 4-2, in game two behind strong pitching from Ashley Bone and Lori Spingola. Jordan Scarboro, Paige Williams and Kelli Wheeler each tallied two hits in the victory.

It was the first loss for Florida State (32-6, 7-1) in conference play and their first loss at home.

Georgia Tech 5, N.C. State 2: The Wolfpack out-hit the Yellow Jackets, but dropped the final game in its three game ACC series with Georgia Tech at Curtis and Jacqueline Dail Softball Stadium. The contest served as the Wolfpack’s annual Kay Yow Breast Cancer game, and the program raised $1,142 for breast cancer research thanks to generous fan support.

Emily Weiman pitched a complete game for N.C. State, surrendering five earned runs on five hits while striking out four Yellow Jackets hitters in the contest.

Scout Albertson continued her hot hitting at the plate by going 2-for-2 with a single, a double and walk in the game. Freshman Renada Davis went 2-for-4 in the game.

Central Florida 4, East Carolina 3: A two-run first inning combined with two hits, including a home run, two runs scored, and a game-saving defensive play by Natalie Land led the Knights (26-10, 6-2 C-USA) to victory.

The Pirates (15-20, 3-6 C-USA) trailed 4-1 going into the top of the seventh, scored twice in the frame on RBI singles by senior Priscilla Velasquez and sophomore Jordan Lewis and had the tying run on third with the go-ahead run on second base. But a diving stop by Land at shortstop and the throw to first had the Knights hold on for the win.

Shaw sweeps doubleheader: Shaw got solid pitching performances and steady offense on its way to a sweep over Lincoln (Pa.). The Bears took the first game 7-3 and claimed the second 9-3.

With the wins, Shaw improved to 7-26 overall and 4-6 in the CIAA. Lincoln fell to 0-18 overall.

Meredith sweeps Sweet Briar: Meredith finished their Virginia road trip with a perfect 4-0 record as the Avenging Angels swept Sweet Briar.

Meredith took the games with a combined 31-1 score in only 10 innings played. With the sweep of Mary Baldwin on Saturday, Meredith moved into fourth place in the USA South standings.

Women’s lacrosse

Kara Cannizzaro scored four first-half goals as third-ranked North Carolina cruised to a 15-4 victory over Virginia Tech at Fetzer Field.

North Carolina improved to 12-1 this season and 4-0 in ACC play. Virginia Tech fell to 7-5 overall and 0-3.

The Tar Heels led 12-0 at halftime.

With the victory, the Tar Heels have clinched a bye in next month’s ACC tournament in Durham. The Tar Heels will host Maryland on Saturday with the tournament’s top seed and ACC regular season title on the line.

Men’s tennis

Junior Henrique Cunha won a super tiebreaker in a showdown of top-15 players at No. 1 singles to lead Duke to a 6-1 victory over Georgia Tech at Ambler Tennis Stadium.

The Blue Devils captured the doubles point for the seventh consecutive match and posted wins on five courts in singles to improve to 16-3 overall and 5-1 in ACC play.

No. 24 North Carolina 6, Clemson 1: The Tar Heels polished off Clemson at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center in Chapel Hill, as the Tar Heels pushed their record to 9-5 overall and 6-1 in ACC play. The win represented a fitting end for senior day in which all five seniors — Alex Rafiee, Brennan Boyajian, Cameron Ahari, Joey Burkhardt, and Zach Hunter — competed for the Tar Heels.

No. 4 Virginia 6, N.C. State 1: The Cavaliers remained unbeaten in the ACC as they downed the Wolfpack at the Snyder Tennis Center in Charlottesville, Va. The Cavaliers (17-1, 7-0 ACC) won their 10th straight match, while N.C. State fell to 15-7 and 1-5.

Women’s tennis

N.C. State defeated Virginia Tech 4-3 at J.W. Isenhower Tennis Center on senior day. The Wolfpack improved to 6-12 overall and 2-5 in ACC play. The Hokies fell to 11-8 and 2-3.

Senior Ashley Miller was honored at the match, as it was the final home competition of the season for the Wolfpack. Miller won both matches that she competed in.

During her time at N.C. State, Miller compiled career winning records in both singles and doubles play in the fall. Miller owns a record of 20-15 in singles, and 19-17 in doubles in fall action.

No. 3 Duke 7, No. 24 Georgia Tech 0: The Blue Devils finished off its ACC road schedule Saturday afternoon with a shutout of the Yellow Jackets. The Blue Devils posted a 7-0 shutout in four of their six ACC wins this season.

Meredith over Averett: Meredith swept Averett in USA South Conference action. The Avenging Angels (13-4, 6-1 USA South) kept the Cougars (0-11, 0-6) winless on the year.

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