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The Daily Tar Heel

CHARLOTTE — So it was only the third inning. And granted it is the regular season.

But the three outs seen in the bottom of the frame were about as dramatic as they come.

Here's the situation: North Carolina misses a double-play opportunity — leaving UNC-Charlotte with men on first and second. Tar Heel starter Patrick Johnson walks the next batter" so now the bases are loaded.

Enter North Carolina reliever Brian Moran.

""When you get in that situation" you're just hoping to limit the damage" coach Mike Fox said. Don't get a three- or four-run inning. One run would have been great.""

Well" how about zero? For that's just what occurred.

The junior delivered No. 5 UNC from a jam" and the Tar Heels escaped with a 4-1 victory against the 49ers (30-19).

""I've got a little bit of experience in those situations"" Moran said. I was able to stay calm and make some good pitches.""

That's saying it lightly. Here's saying it literally.

In the bottom of the third" Moran starts off against Charlotte outfielder Alan Parks. A couple sliders later Parks is sitting on the bench.

UNC-C shortstop Grant Bomann is up next. Same result.

By now a packed Hayes Stadium is in an uproar. And with good reason. The 49ers will eventually squander 13 runners on the day – including the three runners currently on base.

Junior Mike Perkins follows and though he stretches the count to three balls and no strikes" he meets the same fate as his predecessors.

""Brian's been incredible for us all year long"" Fox said. He has the ability to stay with his rhythm and stay with his mechanics. We needed that tonight.""

Three men up with no outs. Three men down with the scoreboard still showing goose eggs.

""It was a great performance"" junior Dustin Ackley said. He's one of those guys that goes out there and gets the job done.""

Still" not all the game's storylines were that unique. The always-dependable Ackley theme arose.

As usual the first baseman stuffed the box score and reached base in nearly every at-bat. And for good measure" he even provided the dramatics with a game-winning two-run single.

""He is the most incredible player I have ever watched over three years"" Fox said. He just has that knack for moving the ball. He finds holes. He's just got that natural swing.""

Although the play helped UNC's (39-13) final tally" his first at-bat was just as impressive.

In the top of the first the All-America came up with two outs. Though the inning proved meaningless in the Tar Heel scorecard Ackley worked a nine-pitch at-bat en route to a single.

Before his smash up the middle" the junior fouled off four consecutive pitches – basically refusing to take a seat in the North Carolina dugout. ""He just shows up every day to play" Fox said. He never takes a day off. He is an amazing" amazing player.""


Contact the Sports Editor at sports@unc.edu.


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