Current Date: Sat, 08 Mar 2014 15:51:01 -0500
The No. 1 North Carolina baseball team had never lost a series this season — until taking on Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
After dropping the first game of a three-game series on a walk-off home run, the Yellow Jackets (32-20, 14-13 ACC) took the finale in extra innings. The lone win in the series for the Tar Heels (45-6, 20-5 ACC) came on Saturday after a strong pitching performance from Benton Moss.
Moss said the rest he had coming into the game helped him go eight innings while only giving up two hits.
“It had been about two weeks since I have thrown in a live situation,” Moss said. “Just because of finals and everything, and that was two weeks to work really hard on all of my pitches — especially my fastball command. They definitely benefited me in terms of control.”
Moss praised his team’s effort this weekend — despite the two losses — and said that if anything, the first series loss of the year will make them better.
“No team can be perfect all the time,” he said. “Unfortunately, they just played a bit better ball than we did this weekend.
“Our offense was absolutely crushing balls and they just went right to them. Fifteen feet either way and a couple of the games might have been a little bit different … but hey, it’s baseball.”
Both of Georgia Tech’s wins came by slim margins.
In Friday’s game, the Tar Heels had a 3-0 lead to start the game before allowing the Yellow Jackets to come back and win 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth. Georgia Tech’s Mott Hyde hit a walk-off home run off UNC’s Kent Emanuel, who pitched the entire game.
Moss quieted the strong Georgia Tech offense on Saturday, but the hive was stirred again on Sunday, and the Yellow Jackets scored in five of 11 total innings to beat UNC 9-8.
Senior Chaz Frank said it was good to lose the first series so late in the season, but he stressed the importance of getting back on track.
“It’s the first weekend series we have lost this season, and that is always a good thing when you are going into the middle of May,” Frank said. “But we definitely want to bounce back next weekend against a good Virginia club that is coming into the Bosh, and play well and take that series and win our division in the ACC.”
Frank said the team didn’t come through in the big moments this weekend like it usually does — something that can be a problem against an opposing offense of Georgia Tech’s caliber.
“They just have a really good offensive club,” Frank said. “We didn’t come up with the big hit with two outs this weekend. We didn’t have as much clutch hitting as we have been having during the season.
“As a team collectively, I thought it was our worst hitting weekend.”
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