Sophomore Brandon Riley did it all for the No. 10 North Carolina baseball team on Wednesday night in Greenville. The outfielder combined an offensive explosion with a defensive highlight to help power the Tar Heels past ECU for a 6-2 road victory.
Riley finished with three hits, four RBIs and a home run to go along with the defensive play of the night — a leaping catch at the right field wall in the first inning.
“Brandon's worked really hard... he's trying to just be a little more patient,” head coach Mike Fox said. “He got a good pitch to hit tonight and it was the biggest swing of the bat of the night so its great to see.”
Both team’s starting pitchers struggled to find control early in the game. Jake Wolfe of ECU (13-8) hit a pair of batters over the first two frames while UNC first-year Tyler Baum gave up deep fly balls to the first two batters he faced. Had it not been for Riley’s leaping catch at the fence, the second of those fly balls likely would have gone for a home run.
But, neither team was able to take advantage of this shaky pitching until the third inning when junior Brian Miller scored Riley on a sacrifice bunt to give the Tar Heels a 1-0 lead.