Top-Ranked North Carolina Blanks The Citadel
Chapel Hill, N.C. – A quintet of North Carolina pitchers limited The Citadel to four hits as the nation's top-ranked team defeated the Bulldogs 13-0 on Wednesday night at Boshamer Stadium.
The Tar Heels (42-4) scored six times in the second including a grand slam by Colin Moran and never looked back in winning the first matchup between the two teams since the 2004 NCAA Tournament and first in the regular season since 1999.
The Bulldogs had only one base runner over the first four innings and threatened only once when Drew DeKerlegand and Calvin Orth singled to lead off the fifth. But starter Hobbs Johnson retired Johnathan Stokes on a fly out to right and struck out Bailey Rush and Brett Bullard to keep The Citadel off the board.
Orth also singled in the seventh to extend his hitting streak to a career-long 10 games. Hughston Armstrong matched Orth's streak when he singled in the ninth.
Johnson (3-0) worked the first five innings and struck out nine, setting down the first seven Bulldogs before Bret Hines reached on a one-out error in the third. Kent Emanuel, normally a weekend starter for the Tar Heels, allowed one hit in two innings and Chris McCue, Mason McCullough and Trent Thornton combined for four strikeouts in two shutout frames.
North Carolina pitching struck out 13 in the game while handing the Bulldogs their first shutout since an 8-0 loss at South Carolina on April 10, 2012. The Tar Heels entered the game ranked third in the nation with a team ERA of 2.33 and recorded their eighth shutout of the year.
Citadel starter Austin Livingston struck out two in the first before North Carolina took advantage of an error and a close play at first in the second. Cody Stubbs doubled and Michael Russell reached when Mason Davis misplayed his grounder to second. Mike Zolk drove in the only run the Tar Heels would need with a bunt single on a squeeze play.
Livingston retired the next two batters on infield popups before Chaz Frank hit a grounder into the hole. Stokes made a nice backhanded stop but his strong throw to first just missed getting Frank, plating Russell to make it 2-0.
A walk loaded the bases and Moran followed with his 12th home run of the season, upping his RBI total to an NCAA-leading 74. The lead grew to 7-0 in the fifth, Russell hit a three-run homer in the seventh to give him four RBI on the night and the Tar Heels added three more in the eighth for the final margin.
The Citadel returns to Southern Conference action this weekend when Davidson visits Riley Park for a three-game series beginning Friday at 6 p.m.