CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Joe Mantiply tried the best that he could to help the Virginia Tech baseball team register its first win in Chapel Hill over North Carolina in 36 years. However, the Tar Heels used their first hit in the game to lift them to a 2-1 lead and then held on for the victory Friday night at Boshamer Stadium.
Mantiply retired the first 13 batters he faced and then allowed his first baserunner of the night with a walk to Cody Stubbs on a full count. Shell McCain followed with UNC’s first hit of the game, but it was a big one – a two-run home run that just cleared Tyler Horan’s glove as he went up to bring it back.
Mantiply worked the final three frames without allowing another run and finished the game – the first complete game of his career – surrendering just four hits and one walk, the two earned runs and struck out seven batters.
North Carolina’s starter Benton Moss was just as good, as he went 7.2 innings, allowed four hits and struck out eight. The Hokies did score an unearned run on him in the first.
A North Carolina error allowed Tech to take the 1-0 lead in the first frame. Alex Perez grounded to second but reached base on the miscue. He moved to second when Mark Zagunis was hit by a pitch with two outs and Jake Atwell followed with a single to left driving in Perez.
Taking a first-inning lead has been rare for the team in the ACC this year. They had scored just three first-inning runs all season in conference games – ironically both were in the second game of the series as well, at Georgia Tech (2) and at Wake Forest (1).
Atwell, who had three hits in the game, was the only Tech baserunner after the fourth inning, singling in both the sixth and ninth frames. He would be left stranded as the Hokies left six on base opposed to UNC’s three.
The Tar Heel bullpen closed the game for Moss, with R.C. Orlan getting the last out of the eighth and Michael Morin closing the game for his 17th save of the year. Benton improved to 6-2 with the win, while Mantiply dropped to 5-6 with the loss.
North Carolina, which has now won 12 in a row overall, 14 straight in the series and nine in a row in the series in Chapel Hill, improved to 41-13 with the win, 21-8 in conference, while the Hokies are 34-20, 11-18 in the ACC.
The two teams will wrap up their regular seasons with the final game of the three-game ACC series at Boshamer Stadium on Saturday with a 2 p.m. start.
For updates on Virginia Tech baseball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Baseball).