"No timely hitting," said Sheppard, who took over at the helm for his ailing father, Mike, who stayed in New Jersey for the weekend series.
Sheppard's crew had just suffered a 3-0 loss at the hands of North Carolina -- its second in as many days. The Pirates stranded seven batters Saturday, five of which were in scoring position.
The Pirates didn't suffer the same problem Sunday, but the result was the same: North Carolina snagged a 8-7 victory to sweep the series.
The Pirates jumped out to an early
3-0 lead on a two-run homer from Kevin Leighton, scoring his twin brother Brian.
The Pirates' early lead was exactly what the Tar Heels didn't want.
"On a day like (Sunday), when you don't know if you're going to get the entire game in or not, you don't want to get behind early," said UNC coach Mike Fox, referring to the rainy weather. "I asked them to play with a sense of urgency after we got behind in case the rain shortened the game."
Fox's request was answered in the second inning, and continued in the third as the Tar Heels pounded Seton Hall's Shawn Tarkington.
Chad Prosser hit a RBI single to center to cap a four-run inning for UNC, which chased Tarkington.
Prosser wasn't the only Tar Heel who got into the act as eight different Tar Heels crossed the plate.
One of them was senior Jason Howell, who started the game at first and ended the game by collecting his second save of the season.
Howell had two hits and a RBI. On the mound, he had two strikeouts in
1 1/3 innings pitched.
Friday, Howell picked up the win in
relief, pitching 3 1/3 innings. The Tar Heels captured the victory in the bottom of the ninth on a sacrifice fly from Sean Farrell. Adam Greenberg walked to start the inning, advanced to third on a bunt and a passed ball and scored the winning run on Farrell's out.
Scott Autrey started the game for the Tar Heels, lasting four innings and giving up five hits. Autrey got in trouble early and often, but managed to escape in his first three innings.
"There could have been a lot more damage done in the first three innings," Autrey said. "I felt good about limiting the damage, but obviously if I am out there rolling, I enjoy it more."
While Autrey had to keep bailing himself out of trouble, Saturday's starter had no such problem.
Daniel Moore sailed in his seven innings, giving up three hits. The opposing pitcher, Isaac Pavlik, matched Moore for much of the afternoon, striking out nine and giving up four hits.
But Moore's teammates helped him out by capitalizing on an error and scoring three runs to chase Pavlik.
Although the score didn't show it, Saturday's game was a reflection of the series, where the Tar Heels were able to make plays the Pirates couldn't.
Said Fox on Sunday, "We made a couple of key plays and a couple of key base hits."
The Sports Editor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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