UNC Wins Wild One Over Clemson, 12-7
DURHAM, N.C. -- Top-seeded North Carolina (50-8) used a five-run ninth inning to force extra innings where the Tar Heels pushed across five more runs in the 14th to claim a 12-7 win over Clemson (39-19) Friday night in UNC's second game of the ACC Tournament.
Trailing 7-2 heading into their final at bat the Tar Heels had the top of the order facing reliever Matt Campbell and picked up a leadoff walk by Chaz Frank. Landon Lassiter followed with an infield single to put a pair of runners on base for Colin Moran.
Moran battled to a full count before lifting a fly ball to left field for the first out in the inning. Skye Bolt and Cody Stubbs followed with back-to-back singles through the right side as Carolina pulled within four at 7-3.
Clemson closer Scott Firth came on with the bases loaded to face Michael Russell and forced a fly ball to left field. Lassiter tagged from third and beat the throw to the plate as Brian Holberton stepped into the batter's box as the game-tying run with two outs.
Firth fell behind Holberton with three straight balls before Holberton got the green light and fouled off the 3-0 offering. Firth then left a fastball up and Holberton blasted a ball into the right field stands for his 10th home run of the year as he tied the contest at 7-7.
Carolina freshman right-hander Reilly Hovis entered with a man on in the bottom of the ninth and escaped danger as he surrendered two hits over five scoreless innings of work. Each team threatened over the next four frames but were unable to push across the go-ahead run until Carolina struck in the 14th.
Cody Stubbs lined his fourth hit of the day to open the 14th and made his way to third base on a sacrifice bunt and a passed ball. A walk would put runners on the corners before Mike Zolk hit a chopper to the first base side. Pitcher Scott Firth fielded the ground ball and fired home but Stubbs beat the tag and put UNC up one at 8-7.
Chaz Frank would blow the game open for the Tar Heels with a bases-loaded triple later in the inning as Carolina scored five runs in the frame to take a 12-7 lead.
Mason McCullough cruised through a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom half of the 14th inning as Carolina claimed its 50th win of the year.
Stubbs led the 19-hit attack for the Tar Heels with his second four-hit game of the tournament, while Landon Lassiter added three hits of his own. Holberton finished with four RBIs on the night and leadoff man Chaz Frank contributed three RBIs and scored a team-high three runs.
Carolina will look to punch its ticket into Sunday's ACC Championship Saturday night when it takes on No. 4 seed NC State at 7 p.m. The winner of Saturday night's game will take on No. 6 seed Virginia Tech at 1 p.m. on Sunday.