No. 17 North Carolina breaks open game late in 12-3 win over College of Charleston
North Carolina broke open a one-run game with eight runs in the eighth and ninth innings to win, 12-3, and even the weekend series with College of Charleston.
The Cougars (1-1) scored three runs on four hits, while the No. 17 Tar Heels (1-1) rallied for 12 runs on 12 hits, including six in the final two innings.
North Carolina All-American starter Trent Thornton went six innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on three hits with 10 strikeouts. He did not allow a walk in his first win of the season. Chris McCue pitched the eighth and ninth innings to earn the save.
College of Charleston starter Taylor Clarke gave up four runs, two earned, on six hits through five innings while striking out three.
The game followed a similar script to Saturday's upset win as North Carolina jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the fifth inning before Charleston had registered a hit. But once again the Cougars jumped on the board in a big way in the bottom of the fifth, using a single from senior Ben Boykin and a Tar Heels fielding error to set up a three-run home run from senior Ryan Welke, bringing the margin to 4-3.
Cougars senior Derrick Smith kept the game at 4-3 with two perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, but North Carolina used an RBI single from Joe Dudek in the eighth and a three-run, pinch-hit homer from Zach Daly in the ninth to break the game open.
Michael Russell led the way for UNC on offense, tallying four hits, including a double and home run. He finished with three runs and four RBIs.
The series concludes on Monday with the rubber game against the Tar Heels at 1 p.m. Despite the late change of venue, this weekend's series is on pace to be one of College of Charleston's top five most-attended home series. Patriots Point has boasted a total attendance of 2,059 through two games against the Tar Heels. The park record for a three-game series is 4,225 in 2006 against The Citadel.
Sunday saw the debuts of four Cougars, including Clarke and Tyler Thornton on the mound, and Bradley Jones and Austin Bello at the plate. . Last season, College of Charleston went 7-1 in series rubber games and 11-2 in the final games of series. .
College of Charleston is now 1-3 against North Carolina all-time.