The No. 15 North Carolina baseball team used an eight-run third inning to defeat No. 11 Virginia 12-2 in the rubber match between the two teams Saturday.
First-year Austin Bergner was the winning pitcher for UNC (12-4, 2-1), which earned its first series win against Virginia (13-3, 1-2) since 2012.
Looking to make amends for their lackluster performance in game two of the series earlier Saturday, the UNC hitters did just that in the series finale.
The Tar Heels put together 13 hits in the win as UNC scored double-digit runs against Virginia for the first time since 2005.
Already ahead 1-0 following a solo home run by senior left fielder Tyler Lynn in the second inning, UNC did the bulk of its damage in the third frame as Virginia sophomore pitcher Evan Sperling struggled in his first career start against a conference opponent.
Junior center fielder Brian Miller, junior second baseman Zack Gahagan and sophomore right fielder Brandon Riley each doubled in runs in the third inning, forcing the Cavaliers to use their bullpen early on.
Who stood out?
Miller led the charge offensively, going 3-5 with three RBIs and three extra-base hits, including a home run, while first-year designated hitter Ashton McGee also went 3-5, driving in two runs.
An early enrollee from C.B. Aycock High School in Pikeville, NC, McGee is batting .386 on the season.
In addition to his home run, Lynn singled, doubled and reached base via a walk and had two RBIs, too.
Appearing in relief of junior pitcher Jason Morgan, who gave up two earned runs over four innings pitched, Bergner held Virginia scoreless in three innings of work, striking out two batters, and now holds a 1.62 ERA through eight appearances.
When was it decided?
UNC’s outlandishly productive third inning more or less secured the win.
Why does it matter?
One week removed from losing two of three games to Long Beach State, the Tar Heels have to feel good about their start to ACC play.
In three games against the Cavaliers, UNC’s pitching was consistently good, while its offense also showed how dangerous it can be at times, too.
For UNC head coach Mike Fox, watching his team take a series against the Cavaliers for the first time in five years had to have been enjoyable, too.
Where do they play next?
The Tar Heels host Maryland at Boshamer Stadium Tuesday at 4 p.m. The game will be UNC’s first against the Terrapins since they left the ACC for the Big Ten following the 2014 season.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.