Maybe they were just waiting to hit 1,000.
Heading into the bottom of the fifth inning of the North Carolina baseball team’s 10-2 victory over Davidson on Tuesday night, the Tar Heels had failed to scratch through a single run — extending their scoreless streak to 14 innings, dating back to Friday's win against Georgia Tech.
But then, everything changed.
The scoreboard flashed the number: 1,080. It had nothing to do with any Wildcat or Tar Heel statistic — rather, it was the number of hot dogs the Boshamer Stadium crowd had already consumed on the widely celebrated Dollar Dog Night.
“We didn’t even know if the scoreboard was right,” said first-year designated hitter Brandon Riley. “We thought that’s how many hot dogs we had left. It raised a lot of money for us and we got a lot of fans out.”
And right when the fans crossed the 1,000 hot dog threshold, the Tar Heels started crossing home plate.
It began when Riley grilled a pitch to right field early in the fifth inning. One at-bat later, the hot dog count had swelled to 1,149 — and the Tar Heel bats started cooking.
Junior Tyler Lynn smashed one off the left-field wall, scoring Riley from first base. And after senior Eli Sutherland single and subsequent steal of second base, Cody Roberts had runners on second and third with two outs.
The first-year broke open the game by lining a 2-2 pitch into right field, scoring both runners and giving UNC a 4-2 lead it would hold for the rest of the game.