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The Daily Tar Heel

Baseball: Johnson Tar Heel pitching holds ECU

baseball
North Carolina right-hander Patrick Johnson carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning striking out a career-high 11 and walking three.

It was a chilly night at Boshamer Stadium but Patrick Johnson had plenty of heat for No. 6 North Carolina to beat No. 16 East Carolina on Tuesday night 3-1.

Johnson pitched six innings of no-hit baseball" completely shutting down the Pirate offense in his third start of the season.

""We needed every strikeout" we needed every big pitch" coach Mike Fox said. We sure weren't very good offensively.""

In the top of the seventh" ECU right fielder Devin Harris sent a single into left field to break up the no-no and Johnson took a seat for Colin Bates in relief.

The 6 and 1/3 innings was a career-long for Johnson and his 11 strikeouts were a career best. For the season" he is now 2-0 in three starts and 12 appearances.

""That was the biggest thing" was just being able to locate — I was locating my fastball well and my slider was locating well" too."" Johnson said.

""I felt like he was going to leave me in until I gave up a hit.""

Johnson's performance was a welcome relief for the Tar Heels (25-7)"" coming off a hard-fought series against Georgia Tech where many of their bullpen saw extensive action.

""You're in about your sixth or seventh week of five games a week"" Fox said. We can't have a six-pitcher staff.""

On the offensive side of the ball" Garrett Gore started off the scoring in the bottom of the third when Harris dropped a fly ball from Dustin Ackley. The error allowed Gore to come around the bases from first for UNC's first run. Kyle Seager followed two batters later with an RBI single to center field.

Harris' error was the first of four in the game for the Pirates (25-6) and as a result" all three of UNC's runs were unearned.

""It's two good teams" and I think it was the team that made the least mistakes Fox said. I think that's what baseball is" who makes the least mistakes.""

Seager followed his third-inning RBI single with another in the bottom of the seventh.

The Tar Heels got plenty of production from the middle of their lineup. Ackley" Seager and Levi Michael combined for four of UNC's six hits and two walks. All told" the trio reached base eight times.

""It's almost like we get enough on certain days and when we really need them" Fox said.

You've gotta give Ackley and Seager credit" they've faced every left-handed pitcher in America that we've faced so far.""

UNC survived a late-game scare when" with two runners on base and two outs in the seventh inning ECU's Dustin Harrington sent a high fly ball to the warning track. But the shot fell just short of the right field wall and into the glove of Gore.

Another rally came in the top of the ninth when ECU loaded the bases on two walks and two straight singles and with runners at first base and third base" threatened to cut UNC's lead to one or take the lead.

But reliever Logan Munson induced Trent Whitehead to ground into a double play to end the game and seal the win for the Tar Heels.

""I just felt like it was one of those nights" I felt like he was just going to shut them down when Logan came in" Johnson said. That was huge for him.""

UNC reliever Brian Moran entered the game in the eighth inning but felt tightness in his shoulder.

After walking his only batter of the evening" he was replaced by Garrett Davis who faced three batters before Munson entered the game.


Contact the Sports Editor at sports@unc.edu


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