Current Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:27:10 -0400
Coming into the series opener against No. 7 Virginia, the No. 3 North Carolina baseball team was looking to make up for its first series loss of the season the previous weekend and clinch its second consecutive regular season ACC Coastal Division title.
But it was not meant to be, and UVa. handed UNC its worse loss of the season 10-4 in front of a home crowd at Boshamer Stadium on Thursday night.
“They were as good as advertised,” coach Mike Fox said. “We lost to a really, really good team and that’s going to happen.’
Before the loss, UNC hadn’t given up double digit runs all season, and the 17 hits allowed by the Tar Heels was a season-high.
Though all the blame can’t be placed on starting pitcher Kent Emanuel, the junior’s performance was one of many low points for the Tar Heels.
For the first time in his career, Emanuel suffered losses in back-to-back starts. Thursday night, the southpaw gave up 10 hits and four earned runs in five innings on the mound.
“(It was) just a bad day at the office,” Emanuel said. “Everything was just up. It was as simple as that. They were able to just string a bunch of hits together.”
It wasn’t just pitching that hurt the Tar Heels. Outside of the second and third innings, UNC failed to create any run support for its pitchers, and made the 6-4 deficit after five innings insurmountable.
Freshman Landon Lassiter went four-for-five from the plate, but not all of the Tar Heels were having such success at the plate. The team only added five more hits.
For junior Colin Moran, this meant a one-for-five performance – much lower than Moran’s .375 average.
The loss means that the Tar Heels will have to wait at least one more game to clinch the ACC regular season crown.
But that doesn’t mean much to Emanuel who admitted he didn’t even know the Tar Heels were that close to locking up the No. 1 seed in the ACC tournament.
“Hopefully we’ll come out tomorrow and get it,” Emanuel said.
Apparently Emmanuel wasn’t the only one who was in the dark about the Tar Heels proximity to the conference regular season title. Moran said he knew UNC was one win away from something but didn’t know the details.To Fox, his players ignorance regarding the subject was a surprise.
“They’re spending not enough time on their Twitter or something,” Fox said. “I can’t imagine they don’t know that.
“Maybe I should go in there and tell them.”
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