CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Tyler Ramirez hit a bases loaded sac fly to center that scored Michael Russell and North Carolina registered a 5-4 walk-off victory over Virginia Tech on Sunday afternoon in the final game of a three-game ACC baseball series at Boshamer Stadium.
With the win, UNC improved to 27-18 overall and 13-11 in the ACC, while Tech dropped to 18-25-1 and 7-17 in the conference in the closest series the Hokies have ever played against the Tar Heels as members of the league - as the three games were decided by just four runs.
Just like the day before, Tech took a two-run lead on its hosts, scoring single runs in the first and second frames. In the first, the Hokies loaded the bases with no outs, but only Saige Jenco would score on a Brendon Hayden sac fly. Logan Bible scored an unearned run in the second after a single, a sac bunt, and a Jenco grounder to short that was misplayed.
The Tar Heels, who mustered just a walk the first time through their lineup, got to Tech starter Jon Woodcock in the third inning. With two outs and a runner on first, a single and back-to-back walks brought one run in and Tom Zengel followed with a two-RBI single to put the home team up 3-2.
In the fifth, the Hokies loaded the bases, this time with one out when Mark Zagunis singled for the second time in the game and back-to-back walks to Hayden and Sean Keselica brought Kyle Wernicki to the plate. On the first pitch, he hit a sac fly to center to bring home Zagunis and tied the game at 3-3.
With one swing of the bat by Ramirez, who, in the series, was hitless in eight at-bats coming in and finished 1 for 10, UNC went back up by one at 4-3 with a home run to right-center field in the bottom of the sixth.
In the eighth, the Hokies again loaded the bases when Keselica drew a leadoff walk and back-to-back singles by Wernicki and Bible, who had another three-hit day, brought pinch-hitter Phil Sciretta to the plate. He came through with a base hit, scoring Keselica, but UNC went to its pen and Spencer Trayner ended the frame with no more damage.
Tech pressed again, getting two on – a double by Hayden and an intentional walk to Keselica – with one out in the ninth and the Tar Heels went to their pen again, bringing in Reilly Hovis, who saved both Friday’s and Saturday’s games. He got one out, walked Bible, and got out of the bases-loaded jam with a grounder to third.
The bottom of the frame saw Russell single and steal second, an intentional walk, a fly out and another intentional walk brought Ramirez to the plate. He did not get a hit, but did get the ball deep enough for Russell to beat the throw home.
Hovis improved to 6-1 by getting the win on the mound, while Luke Scherzer dropped to 2-2 with the loss.
The Hokies have a day off on Monday before getting back on the field Tuesday travelling just across the valley to face the Highlanders in Radford with a first pitch slated for 6 p.m.
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