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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC baseball outlasts Fairfield in 13-inning affair

A walk-off walk. 

It was an appropriate ending for a low-scoring, 13-inning affair, as the No. 11 North Carolina baseball team beat Fairfield 4-3 on Friday in the first of a three-game series at Boshamer Stadium.

In a game where UNC’s defense dominated for the first seven innings, it was a messy eighth inning that caused the Tar Heels (7-1) to relinquish a 2-0 lead.

North Carolina struck early in the first inning, capitalizing off two errors by the Stags to produce the game's first run.

Sophomore first baseman Ryder Ryan brought in the second run of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning on an RBI double that scored Tyler Lynn from third base.

Fairfield (3-1) got on the board in the top of the eighth inning on an RBI single, cutting the Tar Heels' lead to 2-1. Junior pitcher Zac Gallen was replaced by reliever Hunter Williams after allowing the run, having pitched 7 2/3 innings.

The Stags continued their big eighth inning, tying the game on back-to-back singles off Williams and then taking a 3-2 lead on a passed ball. All three runs for Fairfield in the eighth inning came with two outs.

UNC failed to score in the bottom of the eighth inning, but Brian Miller tripled with one out in the ninth and scored on an RBI groundout by Adam Pate to force extra innings.

The extra innings offered no drama until the finale in the bottom of the 13th. With the bases loaded, senior Eli Sutherland stepped up to the plate. 

Sutherland was initially hit by a pitch, but the umpire disallowed it. A few pitches later, Sutherland watched a fourth ball go by him, securing a UNC victory.

Quotable

“Who’s not available? I mean, tomorrow (A.J.) Bogucki is out, (Hansen) Butler is out today, Hunter Williams might be out. We pitch those guys way too much. There are going to be some new guys out of the bullpen tomorrow. There’s going to have to be. ” — Coach Mike Fox on how Friday’s 13-inning game will have affect UNC's pitching staff for the rest of the series.

Notable

The 13-inning game was North Carolina’s longest bout since going 16 innings against Miami during the 2014 season. UNC lost that game 6-5.

Three numbers that matter

2: This is UNC’s second game out of eight this season to go into extra innings. The Tar Heels won both games.

218: Total minutes of play in the 13-inning game. The first pitch was at 3:05 p.m. and the final out was recorded at 6:43 p.m.

4: The Tar Heels have secured walk-off wins in four of the past five games. Fox hopes the team can start securing victories earlier on in games.

What’s next?

North Carolina faces Fairfield in Game 2 of the three-game series at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Boshamer Stadium. UNC righty J.B. Bukauskas (0-0, 9.00 ERA) is slated to start across from right-hander Gavin Wallace (1-0, 1.50).

@Evan_Chronis

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