For all the deserved attention North Carolina’s potent offense gets, the top-ranked Tar Heels reminded everyone on Saturday they can also pitch pretty well.
UNC limited rival Duke to two runs in a doubleheader, both coming on solo home runs, as the Tar Heels posted 7-1 and 4-1 win in ACC baseball at Boshamer Stadium.
UNC ace Kent Emanuel tossed a complete game two-hitter in game one with the only blemish against him coming on a Jordan Betts home run.
In the nightcap, Betts homered for Duke’s only run again as Tar Heels starter Benton Moss combined with relievers Chris McCue and Trent Thornton to shut down the Blue Devils.
“That was key,” UNC coach Mike Fox said. “We give them two runs in 18 innings, both on solo home runs. Kent was sensational in the first game, sensational after the first inning especially. It helps us when Kent throws a complete game and we have our bullpen rested. Our pitching was no doubt the key for the day.”
Emanuel (7-1) worked through allowing two first-inning base runners to dominate the rest of the game. The Blue Devils (22-19, 8-12 in ACC) had only one base runner — Betts’ home run — over the final eight innings.
“My arm felt good, probably the best it has felt all year,” Emanuel said. “Hopefully that trend is going to keep on going.”
In the second game, UNC (38-2, 17-2 in ACC) never trailed as it grew its win streak to 13.
Moss pitched the first 6 2/3 innings, allowing one run on five hits. McCue and Thornton combined to hold Duke hitless over the final 2 1/3 innings as the Blue Devils finished 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
“Give a tremendous amount of credit to Carolina’s pitching staff,” Duke coach Chris Pollard said. “I thought Emanuel threw as good a ballgame as we’ve seen all year the way he really pitched backwards. He threw his off speed early in the count to set up his fastball. He came in as effectively as anyone we’ve seen. I thought Moss did a good job of throwing his breaking ball for strikes.”
As they did in game one of the doubleheader, UNC took an early lead with two runs in the first inning of game two.
Duke starter Trent Swart allowed a Chaz Frank double and a Landon Lassiter single before hitting Colin Moran with a pitch to load the bases with no outs.
Swart limited the damage, getting Brian Holberton and Cody Stubbs on RBI groundouts, as UNC led 2-0 after 1.
The Blue Devils struck right back as Jordan Betts homered to left leading off the second to cut UNC’s lead to 2-1.
With Swart and UNC’s Benton Moss throwing well, the score stayed that way until the sixth inning, which proved crucial for both teams.
Down one, Duke mounted a rally against Moss when Gabe McCabe hit a leadoff single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Betts lined a single to left field and McCabe stopped at third to put Blue Devils at first and third with no outs.
The rally lost steam when Mark Lumpa popped out attempting a safety squeeze bunt. Moss responded by striking out Chris Marconcini before retiring Kenny Koplove and a pop out to shortstop to protect UNC’s 2-1 lead.
“We just have three unproductive at bats after setting the table in a 2-1 ballgame,” Pollard said. “It was disappointing because I felt we pitched well enough to win game two.”
Riding the momentum of stopping that Duke rally, UNC added a run in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a couple of Blue Devil mistakes.
Michael Russell hit a grounder to third base and Betts fired to first. But Marconcini, Duke’s first baseman, let the ball bounce off his glove. Russell took second with no outs as the ball bounced down the right field line.
Swart threw a wild pitch, allowing Russell to take third. Parks Jordan’s single to right field brought in the unearned run for a 3-1 UNC lead.
The Tar Heels added another run in the seventh off Duke reliever Nick Hendrix as the Blue Devils dropped their fifth straight ACC game.
NORTH CAROLINA 7, DUKE 1
|Andy Perez 2b||3||0||0||0||1||1|
|Jeff Kremer rf||4||0||0||0||0||0|
|Grant McCabe cf||4||0||1||0||0||1|
|Jordan Betts 3b||4||1||1||1||0||0|
|Mark Lumpa lf||3||0||0||0||0||0|
|Chris Marconcini 1b||3||0||0||0||0||1|
|Kenny Koplove ss||3||0||0||0||0||1|
|David Perkins dh||3||0||0||0||0||2|
|Ryan Munger c||3||0||0||0||0||2|
|Chaz Frank cf||4||2||2||1||1||0|
|Landon Lassiter dh||3||0||0||0||1||0|
|Tom Zengel ph||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Colin Moran 3b||4||1||0||1||0||0|
|Brian Holberton rf||5||1||3||1||0||0|
|Cody Stubbs 1b||3||0||1||0||2||0|
|Michael Russell ss||3||2||1||1||0||0|
|Mike Zolk 2b||5||0||1||0||0||0|
|Parks Jordan lf||1||0||0||1||1||0|
|Matt Roberts c||3||1||1||0||0||1|
|Duke||000||000||100 — 1||2||2|
|North Carolina||200||121||10x — 7||9||1|
E—Koplove 2; Russell. LOB—Duke 3, UNC 12. 2B — Holberton 2; Stubbs; Russell; Roberts. HR—Betts; Holberton. HBP—Moran; Russell 2; Jordan. SAC—Roberts. SF—Jordan. SB— Frank 2. CS—Holberton.
|Drew Van Orden||5.2||6||6||5||3||0|
Win — Emanuel (8-1). Loss — Van Orden (2-5). WP — Van Orden. HBP — by Van Orden (Moran, Russell, Jordan, Russell). BK — Van Orden. PB — Munger. T— 2:41 A — 2,027
NORTH CAROLINA 4, DUKE 1
|Andy Perez 2b||4||0||2||0||0||0|
|Jeff Kremer rf||3||0||0||0||0||1|
|Grant McCabe cf||4||0||1||0||0||1|
|Jordan Betts 3b||4||1||2||1||0||0|
|Mark Lumpa lf||3||0||0||0||1||0|
|Chris Marconcini 1b||4||0||0||0||0||1|
|Kenny Koplove ss||4||0||0||0||0||0|
|Reed Anthes c||3||0||0||0||1||2|
|Matt Berezo dh||3||0||0||0||0||2|
|Chaz Frank cf||4||1||1||0||0||0|
|Landon Lassiter dh||4||2||3||0||0||1|
|Colin Moran 3b||2||0||0||0||1||0|
|Brian Holberton rf||3||0||0||1||1||1|
|Cody Stubbs 1b||3||0||0||1||1||0|
|Michael Russell ss||3||1||0||0||1||2|
|Mike Zolk 2b||3||0||0||0||1||0|
|Parks Jordan lf||4||0||2||1||0||1|
|Matt Roberts c||4||0||0||0||0||1|
|Duke||010||000||000 — 1||5||1|
|UNC||200||001||10x — 4||6||1|
E — Marconcini (2); Stubbs (3). LOB — Duke 8; UNC 8. 2B — Frank (9); Lassiter (8); Jordan (1). HR — Betts (7). SAC — Berezo (6). SB — Perez 2 (16); Zolk (5). CS — Stubbs (1).
Win — Moss (7-0). Loss — Swart (4-3). Save — Thornton (3). WP — Swart (5); Moss (4). HBP — by Swart (Moran); by Moss (Kremer). BK — Hendrix (1); Moss (1). T—2:45. A—4,205.