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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC baseball crushes Virginia Commonwealth, 11-0

The No. 17 North Carolina baseball team defeated the Virginia Commonwealth Rams on Tuesday evening at Boshamer Stadium by a final score of 11-0. 

An early rain delay didn’t slow the Tar Heels’ (29-15) bats, as the team exploded for 15 hits and 11 runs. VCU (30-16) couldn’t match the North Carolina's offensive prowess and lost their sixth straight in the series against North Carolina.

What happened?

North Carolina scored six runs in the bottom of the second to get a firm grip on the game. Kyle Datres and Zack Gahagan each walked to start the inning. Then, three-straight hits from the the 9-1-2 spots in the order started the scoring for the Tar Heels. By the time the dust had settled after the inning, the Tar Heels had six runs on four hits and all the run support starting pitcher Jason Morgan needed to cruise through the Rams’ lineup.

North Carolina added two more insurance runs in both the 6th and the 8th to widen the gap between the two teams.

Hunter Williams, A.J. Bogucki and Spencer Traynor teamed up to hold the Rams scoreless over the final three frames to close out the blowout win.

Who stood out?

Morgan shined on the mound for the Tar Heels. He struck out three batters, walked one and allowed three hits over the course of six solid innings. He only needed 67 pitches to work through the 22 batters he faced.

“I thought Jason pitched well and when he did get into trouble, he got a big defensive play, which you have to have sometimes, then made a good pitch to get the next guy out. It was a pretty clean, complete game all the way around,” said Coach Mike Fox.

Morgan earned his third win of the season, improving his record to 3-2.

When was it decided?

In the top of the fourth, Morgan ran into some trouble when two straight Rams reached base to start the inning. Senior Jimmy Kerrigan stepped to to plate next for VCU and launched a rocket to left field. If that ball would have dropped, two runs would have scored, but the left fielder, Brian Miller, rose up and made the catch.

“To put your starting first baseman in left field to make a play like that shows you his versatility,” Fox said.

That catch saved two runs and calmed Morgan, who retired the next batter and escaped the inning without allowing a run.

“There’s usually one or two plays in the course of the game that swing the game one way or the other, and that was a big one obviously in our favor,” Fox said.

Why does it matter?

This feels like a big step in the right direction for the Tar Heel offense, which has sputtered at times throughout ACC play. Fifteen hits, even against a non-conference opponent’s midweek pitching, has to be a confidence boost for the team.

The win also gives the team its third straight home victory.

“It’s no secret that we had a rough April. But it is what it is. We have to grind through it.” Morgan said.

The best way to grind through it is to win, as the Tar Heels did in their first game in the month of May.

“I’m hoping this is a good sign and a confidence builder, but a whole new animal rolls in there this weekend.” Fox said.

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Where does UNC play next?

The “whole new animal” Fox was alluding to is Louisville. North Carolina starts a three-game series with the Cardinals at Boshamer Stadium on Friday at 6 p.m.