In the bottom of half of the fifth, two walks and a hit by pitch around a fielder’s choice loaded the bases for the Tar Heels. Kyle Datres grounded out to first to score the tying run. Senior Tyler Lynn followed up with a rocket down the right field line for a triple to score two runs as UNC took a 5-3 lead. First-year Ike Freeman pinch-hit Lynn home with a double off the left field fence for his first career hit. Freeman scored on a throwing error as UNC left the fifth inning leading 7-3.
Freeman tacked on an insurance run in the eighth when he lead off the inning with a shot just over the left field wall to give UNC a 8-3 lead.
Long Beach State was able to load the bases in the top of the ninth and plated two runs with a two-out single up the middle. However, the Dirtbags were unable to push anymore across and UNC won their first of the weekend.
Who stood out?
Lynn was big for the Tar Heels in the batter’s box. He went 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs, including a laser shot down the right field line for a two-RBI triple in fifth inning that gave UNC the lead.
Freeman played well off the bench, getting two hits of his collegiate career in two at bats while driving in two on a double and home run.
First-year Austin Bergner pitched well in relief for the Tar Heels. He struck out two in three innings of work, allowing UNC to hold the lead down the stretch.
When was it decided?
Two walks from Bergner gave the Dirtbags two runners on with one out in the top of the ninth, but redshirt first-year closer Josh Hiatt came in to put Long Beach State away. He allowed one additional runner on an error, but struck out the next batter before giving up a two-RBI single to make the score 8-5. Shortstop Logan Warmoth saved the day by firing a backhand across the diamond to just beat the runner for the final out to cap off the victory.
Why does it matter?
After losing to St. Johns on Wednesday and dropping the first two games of the series, UNC needed a good win on Sunday to stop the bleeding and avoid the sweep.
After putting together some good at bats, limiting defensive mistakes and pitching well, UNC had the timely hits to drive in runs on Sunday. But one must wait and see if that good play will continue, with a weekend series against perennial ACC power Virginia looming next weekend.
Where do they play next?
UNC will take VCU on Tuesday at Boshamer Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.