Kenny Towns hit his first home run of the season, and starting pitcher Josh Sborz battled through a tough outing to keep North Carolina down just enough to allow #1 UVa. to post a 3-1 win in ACC baseball action on Saturday at Davenport Field in Charlottesville, Va.
Sborz (4-2) had an interesting outing, to say the least, allowing nine UNC hits and walking two Tar Heel batters, but giving up just one run. Scuffling all day, including getting a first-inning visit from pitching coach Karl Kuhn, Sborz managed to go five innings, striking out four and walking two in a 91-pitch outing.
Virginia (33-6, 16-4 ACC) drew first blood, getting a leadoff double in the first from Brandon Cogswell, who advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Daniel Pinero and scored on a one-out groundout by Mike Papi.
The ‘Hoos added two more in the third on a two-run homer by Kenny Towns that scored Robbie Coman, who reached base on a leadoff walk.
North Carolina (22-17, 9-11 ACC), frustrated all afternoon with runners on base, finally broke through in the fifth, getting an RBI groundout by Parks Jordan that plated Skye Bolt, who had led off the inning with a single, cutting the Virginia lead to 3-1.
Reliever Connor Jones put in a key effort for Virginia out of the bullpen, giving up just a hit in three innings of scoreless relief to get the ball to closer Nick Howard, who put up a scoreless ninth to record his 13th save.
UNC starter Benton Moss was largely more effective than Sborz, lasting into the eighth, giving up three runs on three hits in seven and two-thirds innings, with six strikeouts and three walks on 98 pitches.