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Tar Heels control strike zone to defeat Princeton

North Carolina was reminded Wednesday that the team won't score 17 runs every game. But that didn't stop them from defeating Princeton handily 6-1.

Lacking the production that was on display in the first game of the series No. 1 UNC took to chiseling one run onto the board at a time. They manufactured a win by controlling the strike zone.

Defensively it was freshman catcher Jacob Stallings who guided five Tar Heel arms through nine innings of one-run baseball.

At 6 feet 5 inches and 185 pounds Stallings doesn't fit the stocky catcher mold. But junior catcher Mark Fleury at 6 feet and 194 pounds" said his understudy has overcome that.

""He may not look like the biggest guy" but he's got the best arm I've ever seen behind the plate" said Fleury, who usually starts at catcher.

Stallings set up his glove for strike after strike from the UNC pitching staff. They struck out eight batters while walking only three.

Certainly the most important part of pitching is throwing strikes" and we emphasize that each and every day coach Mike Fox said.

Sophomore starter Bryant Gaines went five and two-thirds innings without allowing a run to improve to 3-0 on the season.

He got a lot of groundball outs with the splitter and like I said he painted the outside corner great the whole day" Stallings said.

Stallings didn't make a lot of noise in the batter's box, going 0-for-2. But he continued to work the strike zone and reached a three-ball count in each of his four plate appearances.

Stalling's patience was rewarded with two walks, including one with the bases loaded in the second inning to give UNC (16-2) a lead it would not relinquish.

Princeton hurlers recorded just four strikeouts to seven walks.

Any time I can get on" it's good because we have top of the order coming up and those guys are always great" Stallings said.

I was gonna make them throw me a strike the first two at-bats.""

Fleury has played a big part in helping Stallings adjust to baseball at the collegiate level.

""He's really taught me how to play the game coach Fox's way"" Stallings said.

Fleury filled out the box score as the designated hitter, going 3-for-4 with a home run, two runs and two RBIs.

First pitch was a breaking ball away" so I was thinking he might throw away again Fleury said of the at-bat in which he hit the home run.

But they came in to me and I turned on it got the barrel on the ball" and it just took off.""

Freshman second baseman Levi Michael continued his hot start with his ACC-leading seventh home run of the season.

After Wednesday's game"" Michael and Fleury are tied for the lead among all ACC hitters with 24 RBIs.

""We've shown a little bit of power the last three" four days and Levi's I think leading our team Fox said.

What's he got" seven (home runs) now? He's got unbelievable power to be as little as he is.""

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