No. 5 UNC Uses Walkoff HBP to Down No. 8 Baseball, 6-5
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. The No. 8 Virginia baseball team rallied to tie its game with No. 5 North Carolina on a two-run ninth-inning home run by Dan Grovatt (So., Tabernacle, N.J.), but the Tar Heels came right back in the bottom of the inning and scored when Ryan Graepel was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to take a 6-5 win over the Cavaliers Sunday at Boshamer Stadium.
By virtue of their second one-run win of the series, the Tar Heels take the three-game series, two games to one. UVa has now dropped four games in conference play, with three of the four coming by one run and the fourth by two runs.
Grovatt, Steven Proscia (Fr., Suffern, N.Y.) Phil Gosselin (So., West Chester, Pa.) and John Hicks (Fr., Sandy Hook, Va.) each had two hits for Virginia. Grovatt also had four RBI, while Hicks extended his hitting streak to 10 games. UNC’s Levi Michael had a career-best four hits to lead a 12-hit attack.
Matt Packer (Jr., Germantown, Tenn.) pitched the final 1.1 innings for UVa and took the loss to fall to 1-2 this year. Colin Bates (3-1) earned the win for North Carolina after recording the final two outs in the ninth inning.
UNC reliever Brian Moran shut the Cavaliers down until the ninth inning and pitched a career-long 6.1 innings and struck out a career-high eight batters. He allowed only two earned runs and six hits and did not walk a batter.
After six innings of struggles against Moran, the Cavaliers finally broke through in the ninth inning. Gosselin was robbed of a hit on a dazzling over the shoulder catch by Garrett Gore in right field to lead off. Danny Hultzen (Fr., Bethesda, Md.) then beat out an infield single and Grovatt drilled a two-run home run to right-center through a stiff breeze coming straight in from that direction. It was his fourth home run this season and UVa’s 25th of the year, matching the team’s total from all of 2008..
Packer walked Dustin Ackley on four pitches to start the bottom of the ninth inning. Michael followed with a single through the left side of the infield. Kyle Seager sacrificed the two runners over, and after an intentional walk to Mark Fleury, Graepel was hit by the 1-1 pitch to force in the winning run.
Neither starting pitcher received a decision. UVa starter Will Roberts (Fr., Richmond, Va.) tossed three-plus innings, allowing three earned runs, six hits and three walks while striking out four. UNC starter Matt Harvey struggled with his control, walking four and hitting two batters in two-plus innings. He also gave up three earned runs and three hits.
For the third straight game in the series, the Cavaliers (22-4, 6-4 ACC) jumped ahead to start. UVa scored in the first inning, as Jarrett Parker (So., Stafford, Va.) was hit by a pitch to lead off and Gosselin blooped a single into left field. One out later, Grovatt scorched a double into the left-field corner to score both runners and give Virginia a 2-0 lead.
North Carolina (20-6, 7-4) sliced the lead in half in its first turn at the plate when Seager hit a double off the base of the left-field wall, scoring Gore, who had singled with one out.
Virginia added a run in the third when Hicks ifted a sacrifice fly to right field to score Grovatt.
North Carolina fought back to tie the game in its half of the third. Ackley walked with one out and scored when Michael tripled down the right-field line. After Roberts struck out Seager, Fleury tripled off the wall in left field to tie the score.
The Tar Heels took the lead in the fifth inning when Seager ripped a two-run home run to right field off Neal Davis (Jr., Baltimore, Md.). Fleury then doubled and advanced to third on a sacrifice, but Tyler Wilson (So., Midlothian, Va.) escaped the jam by striking out the final two batters.
Virginia travels to Salem, Va., on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. game against Radford at Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium. UVa is back home at Davenport Field Wednesday for a 6 p.m. contest against Norfolk State.