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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC baseball's bats fall flat in 3-2 loss to UNC-Asheville

On a cold night with few fans onlooking, the North Carolina baseball team couldn’t get its bats going. 

In an eerily quiet game in the stands, the No. 13 North Carolina baseball team fell to UNC-Asheville, 3-2. 

First-year pitcher Rodney Hutchison took the mound for the Tar Heels (21-8) in his first career start. The rookie got himself into trouble early. The first two Bulldog batters of the game reached base off hits, and UNC-Asheville held a one-run lead after one inning . 

UNC-Asheville then went up 2-0 in the top of the third inning following a throwing error by senior second baseman Elijah Sutherland. 

Hutchison’s debut as a starter ended early in the fourth inning, as he was replaced by junior A.J. Bogucki. Bogucki pitched 2 2/3 innings but was replaced by junior Spencer Trayner in the sixth inning after allowing another Bulldog run. 

The Tar Heels' bats were silent for the first five innings, but the sixth inning saw UNC finally get on the scoreboard. After three straight walks loaded the bases with Tar Heels, Brian Miller scored on a sacrifice fly by Logan Warmoth to cut the deficit to 3-1. 

With two outs in the inning, first-year designated hitter Brandon Riley doubled to center field to bring the score to 3-2. 

The outburst in the sixth inning didn’t change the momentum of the game, though, as both teams sluggishly advanced to the ninth inning without putting up any more runs. 

In the bottom of the ninth inning, UNC had a shot to win the game. Junior outfielder Tyler Ramirez stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out. He smacked the ball to center field in what looked like a sure hit, but UNC-Asheville center fielder Joe Tietjen dove to catch the ball before it hit the ground and then proceeded to double up Miller at second base to end the game. 

Quotable

“Beating them over the head right now is going to do no good. They are already upset enough so I’ve got to start teaching them belief again and pulling them back up again.” — Coach Mike Fox following the defeat. 

Notable

Miller originally committed to play his college ball at UNC-Asheville during his senior year of high school. After his senior season, Miller decommitted and walked-on at North Carolina. He finished the day 1-for-3 at the plate, including two walks and a run scored. 

Three Numbers that Matter

40: The number of pitches thrown by Hutchinson is his debut as a starter. He allowed four hits and recorded two strikeouts. 

14: Combined strikeouts for the four UNC pitchers who took the mound in the game. Bogucki led the team with six strikeouts. 

1: This was UNC’s first loss to UNC-Asheville in program history. The Tar Heels were 7-0 against the Bulldogs going into the meeting. 

What’s Next?

North Carolina hosts ACC opponent Virginia Tech at 7 p.m. on Friday in the first game of a three-game series. 

@Evan_Chronis 

sports@dailytarheel.com

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