Heels Fall To FAU, 3-2, Rematch Monday
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina saw its seven-game winning streak come to an end Sunday night as Florida Atlantic claimed a 3-2 come-from-behind win to force a decisive seventh game Monday.
Junior left-hander Hobbs Johnson carried a no hitter into the seventh inning for the Tar Heels but did not factor into the decision as FAU's Ricky Santiago hit a go-ahead three run home run against reliever Trevor Kelley to give the Owls a 3-2 lead they would not relinquish.
"Well, the good news is we get to play again tomorrow night," head coach Mike Fox said. "We're going to focus on that and try to put this one behind us as quickly as we can, and be ready to play tomorrow night."
Carolina jumped out to a 1-0 edge in the first inning behind three straight singles by Chaz Frank, Landon Lassiter and Colin Moran. The Tar Heels would strand Lassiter and Moran in the first but would continue to threaten against FAU starter Bo Logan.
The Tar Heels stranded a pair of runners in the second and two more in the third before pushing across another run in the fifth. Skye Bolt opened the frame with a double and moved to third base on a single off the bat of Cody Stubbs. Michael Russell lifted a fly ball to shallow center field but Bolt was able to beat throw and put the Tar Heels up 2-0.
Johnson walked the first batter he faced to open the seventh inning and was relieved by Kelley after walking five batters over six-plus innings of no-hit work. Kelley walked the first man he faced but retired the next batter via strikeout. Santiago then hit a 1-1 pitch to left field that cleared the wall for his fifth home run of the year.
Skye Bolt nearly put the Tar Heels in front with two outs in the top of the eighth inning after Colin Moran drew a two-out walk. Bolt lifted a pitch to deep right center field but the right fielder made the catch a step in front of the wall to end the inning.
The Tar Heels were unable to get anything going in the ninth inning as FAU claimed the 3-2 win.
Chaz Frank paced the Tar Heels at the plate with a 4-for-5 effort, while Cody Stubbs and Brian Holberton chipped in two hits apiece.
Senior right-hander Chris Munnelly will take the bump for the Tar Heels Monday night and will likely face FAU right-hander Jeremy Strawn.