After dropping just its second game of the season on Monday night, coach Mike Fox told the No. 1 North Carolina baseball team to get off the bus today with a chip on its shoulder.
With a 10-0 win at UNC-Wilmington (21-9) as evidence, the Tar Heels did just that.
“(The loss) actually fueled the flame,” Wednesday night’s starting pitcher Chris Munnelly said in a telephone interview. “It kind of put a chip on our shoulder and motivated us to get back out and get a good win.”
The win for the Tar Heels (26-2) was a milestone for Fox — it was his 1,200th career win.
“More importantly, it was win number 26 for us,” Fox said. “It was just a complete performance tonight. Great, great response to us losing on Monday. I’m proud of the way we played tonight.”
Munnelly picked up the win for his seven innings of work. He fanned a career-high eight batters and gave up just two hits on the way to his second win of the year.
“I just got ahead in a lot of counts with my fastball,” Munnelly said. “My slider was working good late in the count. So everything worked out pretty well.”
The bats came through early to back up Munnelly’s performance from the hill. UNC had a one-run lead after the first inning.
Freshman Skye Bolt, who struggled at the plate Monday, added two more runs in the third with a two-run home run. He now has five roundtrippers on the season.
“It’s always good when you go out there and you have a little run support,” Munnelly said. “I’ll definitely credit our hitters for that.”
UNC’s usual Saturday starter, Benton Moss, came on in relief in the eighth inning to sit the Seahawks down in order. Munnelly said it was as hard as he’s seen Moss throw all season.
Fox said that he inserted Moss because Wednesday would have been his day to throw in the bullpen anyway.
“We tried to keep him sharp … get him out there and throw about 20 pitches to keep him in rhythm and have him ready for Saturday.”
Third baseman Colin Moran and first baseman Cody Stubbs both had three hits to account for half of the team’s hits in the game.
Stubbs, Bolt and Mike Zolk each earned a pair of RBIs against a Seahawks pitching staff that benefits from the coaching of former Tar Heel.
Robert Woodard, a former UNC pitcher and assistant coach, is in his first season as an assistant with UNC-W.
“I spoke briefly to him after the end of the game,” Fox said. “I know how it is to be on the losing end, and Woody’s a competitor but he was very cordial after the game. He just sent me a nice text. It was good to see him.”
But the reunion was likely sweeter for Fox, who left with the win.
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