On the first play of the third, a line drive hit off Hutchison’s foot and was caught by Datres for the first out of the inning. The pitcher quickly shook off the sting and recorded his third one-two-three inning while earning his fourth strikeout.
UNC continued the hitless streak in its bottom half of the third on a pop out, a groundout and a strikeout.
Hutchison retired the first two batters in the fourth before allowing a two-out walk after retiring the first 11 hitters in the game. He quickly hit the next batter to put two runners on and then allowed his first hit of the day, a single, that scored the runner from second to give ECU the first run of the day. On the next play, a deep fly ball hit to left center field dropped over the glove of Tessar for a triple and scored two more runs to make it 3-0. After walking the next hitter, the fifth consecutive man to reach base, head coach Mike Fox had seen enough and went to his bullpen, bringing in right hander Brett Daniels to stop the bleeding. Daniels immediately picked up a huge strikeout to end the inning and prevent any further damage.
The Tar Heels failed to get any ground back in the fourth as the hitters were retired quietly, two via strikeout.
In the fifth, Daniels struck out the first batter before allowing a single. The runner attempted to steal second base, but was gunned down by Martorano.
UNC still could not get on base in the fifth inning and remained hitless through five innings.
After Daniels recorded the first out in the sixth inning, three straight singles gave ECU its fourth run of the game. With that, Daniels’ day was done and Fox went to his bullpen for the second time, bringing in first-year right hander Joey Lancellotti. Lancellotti struck out both batters he faced to retire the side.
It wasn’t until the sixth inning that the Tar Heels recorded a hit when Tessar reached on an infield single to break up right hander Chris Holba’s no-hit bid. The hit was unable to start a trend, as Datres quickly grounded into a double play to end the inning.
In the seventh, Lancellotti recorded two straight outs but hit the next batter with a pitch and was yanked by Fox. First-year lefty Caden O’Brien entered the game to try and end the threat. Against the first batter, a line drive hit off O’Brien, then ricocheted at Datres. The third baseman fumbled the ball near the stands and dropped it out of play, causing a run to score as his teammate took third base on the error. Things continued to go south as a passed ball allowed the sixth run to score from third base.
In the bottom half of the inning, first baseman Michael Busch reached base on a one-out single, giving UNC just its second hit of the game. A batter later the inning ended on a double play, keeping the Tar Heels scoreless.
Right-hander Cooper Criswell entered the game in the eighth, hoping to do better than the previous Tar Heel pitchers. After two straight walks, a bunt single loaded the bases. A sacrifice fly scored the seventh run of the game. On the next play, a dribbler down the line was fielded by Criswell, who attempted to throw it to first. The throw went wide and ECU scored its eighth run of the day. Later in the inning an error on Busch allowed a ninth run to score. It was the third error made by the Tar Heels.
As if the game could not get any worse, a bases-loaded walk scored the fifth run of the inning and brought yet another pitching change for UNC. Sophomore right-hander Bo Weiss became the seventh UNC pitcher to enter the game and quickly picked up the final out of the eighth on a fly ball out.
The Tar Heels went down quietly again in the eighth with another three-up, three-down inning. UNC had seven innings where only three batters came to the plate on the day.
In the ninth, the Pirates loaded the bases with no outs, causing Fox to go to his bullpen for the seventh time. First-year right-hander Ben Casparius entered the game and promptly induced two straight fly ball outs, the second of which was deep enough to score a run, making the score 12-0.
UNC was unable to score in the ninth and was shutout, 12-0.
Who stood out?
Lancellotti retired four-of-five hitters he faced, recording three strikeouts in just 1.1 innings of work. Busch recorded a hit for the seventh game this season. Tessar also reached base on a single and he is now 5-11 on the year.
When was it decided?
The game went south in the fourth inning. After not allowing a baserunner through the first three frames, Hutchison unraveled and allowed three runs in the inning. The Tar Heel bats were not able to bring the team back from the early deficit.
Why does it matter?
With the loss, UNC is now 0-3 at home. It is the first time the Tar Heels have dropped their first three home contests since 1962. UNC was picked to win the ACC Coastal Division heading into the season, but with a 3-5 record, the team must turn things around quickly to salvage the campaign. The 12-0 loss was the largest UNC loss since Feb. 16, 2001 at South Alabama.
When do they play next?
UNC will look to get back on track when the team faces High Point University at Boshamer Stadium on Tuesday at 3 p.m.
@DTHSports | firstname.lastname@example.org