Tar Heels Drop Finale To Clemson In 11
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- No. 1 North Carolina (25-2, 9-2 ACC) had a nine-game winning streak come to an end Monday night as Clemson (17-11, 6-6 ACC) claimed a 5-4 extra-inning win.
The Tar Heels jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to Colin Moran's sixth home run of the year, a two-run shot in the third inning.
The Tigers answered with a single run off of starter Hobbs Johnson in the fourth before Carolina responded with a single run in the fifth via a Cody Stubbs RBI single.
Carolina carried a 3-1 advantage into the sixth before Clemson put a runner on with one out in the inning.
Relief pitcher Trevor Kelley entered for Carolina and issued a walk to put two runners on base for shortstop Tyler Krieger.
Carolina went to the bullpen to get reliever Chris McCue to face Krieger but the Clemson shortstop dropped a single into right field to load the bases.
Clemson's Thomas Brittle then sent a McCue offering into right field and a pair of runs came around to score to tie the contest at 3-3.
With runners on the corners and one out, Brittle stole second to put two runners in scoring position for Jay Baum. McCue threw a pitch in the dirt that bounced off catcher Matt Roberts back toward the mound.
Krieger came racing home and was able to beat Roberts' throw to McCue at the plate to put Clemson up 4-3. Brittle attempted to score from second on the wild pitch but was caught in a rundown between third and home for the final out of the inning.
The Tar Heels would answer with a run in the seventh as Chaz Frank opened the inning with a double into the left field corner before scoring on a RBI groundout off the bat of Colin Moran.
Neither team was able to score in either the eighth or ninth innings as the contest went into extra frames.
Carolina had an inning kept alive in the 10th after a throwing error by the Clemson second baseman, but with runners at the corners and two outs the Tar Heels were unable to push across the winning run.
Clemson would load the bases with nobody out in the top half of the 11th inning after a leadoff walk and back-to-back bunt singles that reliever Chris O'Brien was unable to field.
O'Brien was able to force a ground ball to first for the first out of the inning before departing for relief pitcher Shane Taylor.
Taylor coerced another ground ball but the slow roller to Michael Russell at shortstop forced the sophomore to make the play at first.
The Tigers would manage just the one run in the 11th but it was enough as relief pitcher Scott Firth worked his way out of trouble in the bottom half to deliver Carolina its second loss of the year.
Cody Stubbs paced the Tar Heel offense with four hits, while Chaz Frank contributed three of his own.
The Tar Heels will return to action on Wednesday when they travel to UNC Wilmington for a 6 p.m. contest.