North Carolina's offense could finally breathe a sigh of relief Wednesday night, all thanks to the UNC pitching staff.
Tar Heel pitchers Daniel Moore and Kevin Brower combined to allow just three hits and one run en route to UNC's 4-1 nonconference win against UNC-Charlotte at Boshamer Stadium.
The game marked the Tar Heels' season low for hits allowed.
It came after losing a 9-5 lead in the eighth inning to UNC-Greensboro on Tuesday night, as the Tar Heels (21-17) ended a nine-game stretch away from Boshamer Stadium with a 10-9 loss.
Moore said UNC's young bullpen is steadily improving in the final stretch of ACC games.
"We've made a lot of mistakes that we shouldn't make as a baseball player on any level," Moore said. "But we're learning, and hopefully now we can right the ship and finish the season out strong."
The Tar Heels did just that after Moore gave up a solo home run to UNC-C's Thomas Bowker, giving the 49ers a 1-0 lead in the fourth.
But UNC answered in the fifth with a homer by Ryan Blake to tie the score at 1-1. Five batters later, Jeremy Cleveland's grounder just missed squeaking past the infield, but the 49ers' second baseman George Sandel bobbled the ball, and his throw home was late as Chad Prosser scored for the 2-1 lead.
UNC designated hitter Jason Howell's RBI single to short right field brought in Russ Adams to stretch the lead.
Howell finished the night with three hits and an RBI while right fielder Ralph Roberts went 2-for-4 with two singles.
With the score 4-1, it was time for the Tar Heel pitching staff to keep things afloat with a late-inning lead.
Brower responded right out of the bullpen, giving up just two walks and fanning three batters in four innings for his first save of the season.
UNC coach Mike Fox said he looks forward to more positive results with Brower on the mound.
"Except for one inning at Maryland, he's been really good," Fox said. "Kevin has a great change-up pitch. When he has that working, he's tough to hit off of because you can't sit on any pitch."
And to put icing on the cake, Brower struck out Bowker, the 49ers' only run producer of the night, to end the game.
Moore said the UNC pitching staff's problems this year have largely been psychological.
"We've just made a lot of mental mistakes this year," Moore said. "Things like not backing up bases and stuff like that.
"But I think we've learned a lot from these tough losses and will look to turn it around."
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