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The Daily Tar Heel

Baseball Quiets Pirate Supporters

With the win against No. 19 ECU, the Tar Heels improved to 24-18 on the season.

More than 100 ECU fans traveled to Chapel Hill and made an early statement in the contest with chants of "ECU" before the opening pitch.

UNC coach Mike Fox said the crowd gave his players more incentive to win against their in-state rival.

"We played well there last year with all of their people so it got us fired up," Fox said. "We pitched and played defense tonight, and we know that's what we need to do in order to win."

But the Tar Heels also played good offense. In the third inning, UNC opened up a 1-0 game with four singles by Chad Prosser, Russ Adams, Ralph Roberts and Sean Farrell. Both Roberts and Farrell knocked in one run each for a

3-0 advantage.

Farrell's next at bat in the fifth resulted in his third home run of the season and pushed the Tar Heels' lead to 4-1. Farrell finished 2-for-4 at the plate.

"When East Carolina comes to town, it's an intense rivalry," Farrell said. "Everyone has to step their game up a notch. I've been struggling a little bit, but I made a few adjustments. I felt real comfortable at the plate and hit a couple of balls well."

But ECU rallied in the seventh behind shortstop Lee Delfino's bat. The Colonial Athletic Association's Preseason Player of the Year laced a single to center field to bring in two runs and make it a one-run ballgame.

In the bottom half of the inning, Pirate Bryant Ward missed a routine infield pop-up, and ECU's second of three errors resulted in two UNC runs. They remained insurance runs, as both teams went scoreless in the last two innings.

Reliever Jason Howell, who earned his fourth save of the season, said he was able to block out the ECU faithful's cheers.

"We knew it was going to be like this because of last year," Howell said, referring to playing in front of ECU's rowdy fans. "And winning, especially against a ranked team, will help everything on our team."

Howell said the younger players are finally starting to gel late in the season.

"The young guys pitched a great game today," Howell said. "With those guys clicking, we'll be good."

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.

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