BLACKSBURG – Andrew Rash hit a pair of home runs and drove in a career-high five runs, but No. 1 North Carolina was able to plate a single run in the 10th inning and escape English Field with a 9-8 victory on Saturday afternoon in ACC action.
Rash hit a two-run home run that tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the first inning and after the Tar Heels took a 6-3 lead in the top of the fourth, he smacked a three-run home run to tie the game at 6-6 in the bottom of the frame.
For Rash, it was the fourth career multi-home run game of his career and he now has seven on the season and 38 in his career. His last two homer game was at Maryland on April 23, 2011.
UNC (33-2, 14-2 ACC) plated two in the top of the eighth inning on a two-run home run by Brian Holberton to take an 8-6 lead. In the game, the Tar Heels plated five of their nine runs on homers, as well, with Colin Moran hitting a three-run shot in the second.
Tech (22-14, 7-10 ACC) answered back in the bottom of the eighth as Brendon Hayden and Chad Morgan both singled, which was sandwiched around an error that allowed Kyle Wernicki to reach, and the Hokies had the bases loaded with no outs.
UNC reliever Trent Thornton settled in and closed out the frame without another run scoring and worked a scoreless bottom of the ninth as well to send the game into extra innings – the Hokies third in the last nine days and fifth of the season.
In the 10th, Moran worked a lead-off walk, moved to second on a bunt attempt by Holberton, who reached on an error, took third on a grounder to short, and scored on a wild pitch.
Thornton worked a perfect home half of the 10th to improve to 8-0 on the season, while Clark Labitan was saddled with the loss, dropping to 0-3.
Joe Mantiply got the start for the Hokies and went 4.2 innings and struck out six batters, but allowed five earned runs. With his fifth K of the afternoon, he recorded the 200th strikeout of his career at Tech.
The teams will conclude the three-game ACC series on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.
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