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The Daily Tar Heel

Base Running Sparks UNC's Victory

The Tar Heels grabbed an early four-run lead with some aggressive base running and staved off a late Spartan rally en route to a 10-3 win at Boshamer Stadium.

UNC put pressure on the Spartan defense all night long.

Third baseman Chris Maples set the tone in the second inning by challenging the throwing arm of Spartan first baseman Chris Mittendorf.

Running on the pitch, Maples scored from second on catcher Ron Braun's ground out to shortstop to give North Carolina (26-21) a 2-0 advantage.

Earlier in the inning, Jason Howell scored North Carolina's first run on a balk.

UNC coach Mike Fox put the hit-and-run on again in the third to ignite the offense.

Left fielder Sean Farrell drove an RBI double into the right field corner, scoring Russ Adams from first and pushing the lead to 3-0.

North Carolina also swiped four bases on the evening, which set up other scoring chances.

"We needed to play a little bit more no-holds-barred and just see what happens," Fox said.

While the Tar Heels extended the lead at the plate, freshman right-hander Scott Manshack (2-3) held the Spartan hitters in check.

Manshack limited UNC-G (22-21) to two runs on four hits and struck out five in six-plus innings of work for his second collegiate victory.

"I located my fastball and my changeup was working well," Manshack said.

Said Fox: "It's been a goal of all of our pitchers to get ahead (in the count). I was proud of (Manshack's) effort tonight."

But the Spartans didn't go down quietly. After cutting the lead to 7-2 in the seventh, UNC-G loaded the bases with no outs.

Fox called on Whitley Benson to end the rally.

Benson (3-1, three saves) jammed Justin Lee for the first out before fanning Chris Cook and inducing Ramon Balderas into a ground out to end the threat.

The freshman right-hander pitched the final three innings to record the save.

He surrendered a run in the ninth to break his streak of 9 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings.

Maples and designated hitter Jeremy Cleveland delivered RBI hits in the bottom half of the inning for insurance.

Howell and Cleveland turned in 2-for-3 performances, while Maples scored two runs to lead the Tar Heel attack.

Adams and Adam Greenberg also contributed with a hit each.

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UNC-G starter Taft Cable, who picked up the win against UNC on April 10, suffered the loss.

The Tar Heels salvaged a 5-5 record during their 10-game home stand and will next travel to Clemson for a three game weekend set with the Tigers.

"We needed (this win)," Fox said. "We certainly didn't need to get on that bus (today) having lost four in a row at home."

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