With one out in the sixth inning, center fielder Brandon Riley singled and then advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt that resulted in a throwing error. With a runner now in scoring position, shortstop Ike Freeman calmly stepped to the plate and clobbered a 2-0 pitch over the left field fence, the sophomore's third home run of the season.
The lead now at 4-2, it looked like the Tar Heels were mounting a comeback. But the offense failed to get more than one runner on base in each of the next three innings.
Right fielder Kieton Rivera provided Coastal Carolina with an insurance run, sending a solo home run into the left field stands off reliever Joey Lancellotti to make it 5-2 in the eighth inning.
That run proved to be the final score of the day, as the Tar Heels fell 5-2 to give the team its first loss in ten contests.
Who stood out?
Riley had a multi-hit game and scored one of the team's two runs on the night. Freeman's two-run shot in the sixth was the highlight for UNC in the midweek loss.
The Tar Heel bullpen stood out, striking out a combined ten batters in 5.2 innings of work. Redshirt sophomore closer Josh Hiatt picked up one of those strikeouts and pitched a scoreless seventh inning.
Why does it matter?
The midweek game was not an important one for UNC, but it did hand the team its first loss in ten games. Now, the focus will turn to conference play, with six of the last seven games against ACC opponents.
Who do they play next?
UNC takes on No. 13 Duke in a three-game set starting Friday at 6 p.m. at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The three-game series will likely decide the ACC Coastal Division, with less than three games separating the two ball clubs.
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