CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – No. 6 North Carolina used a seven-run fourth frame to turn a two-run lead into a nine-run advantage and cruised to a 13-2 victory in the first game of a three-game ACC series with Virginia Tech at Boshamer Stadium on Thursday night.
With the win, the Tar Heels won their 11th straight game and improved to 40-13 this year, 20-8 in conference, while the Hokies dropped to 34-19, 11-17 in the ACC.
The Hokies threatened in each of the first two innings, with a base runner in both the first – a Jake Atwell single in his first at-bat since March 25 – and the second – a Tyler Horan walk, the seventh straight game he’s drawn one. However, the Tar Heels were able to turn a pair of double plays to end the two frames and keep the game scoreless.
In the home half of the second, Tech cleared the bases after a lead-off walk with its own double play, but back-to-back hit-by-pitches were followed by a Cody Stubbs two-RBI double, which brought home both Michael Russell and Parks Jordan. A pair of Hokie errors allows two unearned runs to score and the Tar Heels led 4-0.
Atwell led off the top of the fourth with a double, just missing a home run as the ball hit the top of the wall, but Horan did not miss with his swing. He smashed a ball over the center field fence for his team-leading 15th home run of the season to cut the Tech deficit in half at 4-2.
North Carolina responded in the bottom of the frame by sending 12 Tar Heels to the plate with seven crossing it with Chaz Frank and Colin Moran each driving in two to put the home team up 11-2.
That was all the run support UNC starter Kent Emanuel would need as he went seven innings and allowed just the two runs on the home run and struck out seven Hokies. He improved his record to 8-3 with the win, while Andrew Aizenstadt dropped to 2-3 on the year with the loss.
The two teams will continue the final ACC series for each team on Friday night with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m.
For updates on Virginia Tech baseball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Baseball).