North Carolina baseball’s game at UNC-Wilmington had dragged on into the 12th inning and into the fifth hour of play. Something, anything needed to break the stalemate.
It turns out no pitch was even needed to break the tie
UNC-W pitcher Justin Crump tried to pick off Joe Dudek on first base, but no one was covering the bag for the Seahawks.
The result: a balk that scored Tyler Ramirez to lift the Tar Heels to a 6-5 win on Wednesday, ending UNC-W’s 10-game winning streak.
“It was weird because (Crump) picked off at first,” Ramirez said. “The first baseman wasn’t holding the runner on, so I didn’t really know what happened. They yelled balk and I was like, ‘OK, I get to go home.’”
After a solid offensive showing in Tuesday’s win over Campbell and five runs in the first three innings against UNC-W, the Tar Heel bats fell silent. The game turned into a pitcher’s duel, as neither team scored between the fourth and 12th innings.
Typically UNC plays weaker in-state opponents midweek to prepare for various conference series on the weekends. But in playing UNC-W – one of the better nonconference in-state teams – on the road and on the second day of a back-to-back, the Seahawks posed a tough challenge for the Tar Heels.
“This probably wasn’t the greatest scheduling in the world,” Coach Mike Fox said. “When you do your scheduling, you want to play these midweek games, back to back, you want to play in April when the weather’s warm.”
As the clock ticked on, both bullpens continued putting zeroes on the scoreboard. Although the UNC bullpen has struggled this season, Fox elected to use five different pitchers to relieve freshman starter Hunter Williams.