No. 13 North Carolina edges Liberty, 6-5
Liberty opened up a 5-2 lead with three runs in the third inning, before seeing North Carolina knot the contest in the fifth and breaking the tie with a run in the seventh.
Liberty drops to 6-4 on the year. The Flames have lost three straight contests. North Carolina improves to 6-5. The Tar Heels have won three straight games.
The Flames jumped out to a 1-0 edge in their opening at bat. Center fielder D.J. Artis led off the game with a walk and stole second base with one out. After Tar Heels’ pitcher Austin Bergner’s pick-off attempt allowed him to advance to third base, Artis scored on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Dylan Allen for the contest’s first run.
North Carolina countered in the bottom of the inning. With center fielder Brandon Riley aboard on a walk, first baseman Michael Busch lifted his third home run of the year over the right field wall for a 2-1 lead.
Liberty tied the game in the second, striking for a run with two out. Second baseman Trey McDyre dropped a single into right field and scored on double ripped into the left field corner, deadlocking the contest at 2-2.
The Flames plated runs for the third consecutive inning in the third. With one out, left fielder Trey Todd and Allen walked. Third baseman Tyler Galazin followed with RBI single for a 3-2 advantage. After a Tar Heels’ pitching change, right fielder Brandon Rohrer lined a double down the right field line for a 5-2 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, North Carolina answered with two runs of their own. With runners on the corners and two out, Tar Heels’ right fielder Cody Roberts doubled to cut the Liberty edge to 5-4.
After the Flames stranded a runner at third base in the top of the fourth, North Carolina tied the game in the bottom of the inning. Catcher Brandon Martorano opened the home half of the fourth with his third home run to knot the score at 5-5.
The Tar Heels pushed the go-ahead run across in the seventh. Held in check through 2 2/3 innings by Liberty reliever Garret Price, third baseman Kyle Datres singled with one out. Busch, who had three RBI in the contest, followed with a double to left to give North Carolina what proved to be the final score of 6-5.
Price drops to 0-1 on the season. The right-hander allowed one run on three hits over 3 2/3 innings in relief of Liberty starter Jackson Bertsch. He struck out four and did not walk a batter.
Tar Heel right-hander Brett Daniels moves to 1-0. The third of four North Carolina pitchers in the contest, Daniels pitched two scoreless innings, retiring the side in order in both frames.
Joe Hiatt pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out all three batters he faced to record his first save of 2018.
North Carolina had eight hits and committed both of the contest’s errors. Liberty collected five hits, but none after the first six innings.