The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday October 20th

Adams, Bakker Lights Out as Tar Heels Cruise in Win

Junior Russ Adams' hitting and the pitching of freshman Garry Bakker allowed UNC to blow by VCU on Tuesday.

In keeping with the theme, UNC starting pitcher Garry Bakker made sure that Virginia Commonwealth's bats stayed in the off position.

Bakker pitched seven innings, giving up one run on four hits to lead the Tar Heels to a 10-2 victory Tuesday night.

While the Rams (28-14) couldn't get things going, stranding about a runner an inning, Russ Adams proved that UNC's bats were alive and swinging. He finished the night with three singles, a home run and five RBIs.

"He really got his stroke back," said UNC coach Mike Fox. "I don't think Russ has felt good about his swing lately, but he's still getting hits."

North Carolina (29-14) scored four runs in the second inning on a pair of two-run singles. First baseman Jeremy Cleveland led off the inning with a blooper to left-center and advanced to second when catcher Chris Iannetta walked.

VCU pitcher Bo Acors (6-2) then plunked UNC's designated hitter Ron Braun in the back to load the bases. Shortstop Chad Prosser knocked Cleveland and Iannetta home.

Two batters later, Adams drove in Braun and Prosser with a single to left.

But Adams was only getting warmed up. He smacked his fourth career home run down the left-field line for his third hit of the night in the sixth.

"Well, I had a good night," Adams said. "It helps when you've got guys like (Chris) Maples and (Sean) Farrell behind you. You get good pitches."

Farrell, who hits directly behind Adams in the lineup, proved Adams' point with a homer of his own in the sixth. Farrell deposited the ball over the left-center field wall.

The back-to-back home runs raised UNC to 73 long balls on the season, which leads the ACC. It was also the ninth time the Tar Heels have hit home runs in consecutive at-bats.

And while the Tar Heels were merrily beating up on the Rams' pitching, Bakker (5-2) shut down their hitting.

He had something of a rocky start, but it lasted for about a batter.

Rams leadoff hitter Matt Davis ripped a triple down the first-base line on Bakker's first pitch of the night. Bakker struck out the second and fourth batters, but Davis scored on a deep fly to center field by Jose Pabon.

"I didn't have a strong fastball today," Bakker said. He relied more on his changeup, slider and curveball to keep him going.

"It's a funny game; you can go out there and not have your best stuff and have a good game," he said.

Bakker didn't find himself in trouble again until the bottom of the seventh. Trouble, meaning that he had runners on first and second. VCU's Bryan Gillespie reached base on a single and moved to second when Bakker gave up his only walk of the night. Bakker then struck out the next batter, giving him six fans on the night.

The good outing came on the heels of Bakker's worst in a North Carolina uniform. Saturday, Bakker's pitches just weren't working and he left the game after just three innings.

After Tuesday's game, Bakker said his arm was a little sore and that he could tell in the bullpen during warm-up that his fastball was off.

"We've said all along he's a horse," Fox said. "He's a competitor. I expected him to give us six, seven innings despite how his arm was feeling.

"I didn't think his stuff was that bad. He might be a little hard on himself."

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

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