After sweeping the Louisville Cardinals last weekend, the UNC baseball team (26-22, 18-16 ACC) took game one of their last series of the regular season Thursday afternoon against Georgia Tech (26-21, 19-15 ACC), 3-2.
The first game was a close one, with both teams fighting to improve their postseason positions in the final regular season series of the season. The Yellow Jackets struck first in the bottom of the third inning, scoring two runs off of a single from catcher Kevin Prada.
After the two early runs, Tar Heel ace Austin Love settled in, pitching a complete game for the Tar Heels with no walks, while surrendering just two runs and striking out 12 Georgia Tech batters along the way. Georgia Tech lefty Brant Hurter also surrendered just two runs for the Yellow Jackets and struck out five Tar Heel batters in seven innings of work.
In the top of the fourth, the Tar Heels grabbed the first of their three runs off of a double from graduate player Brett Centracchio to cut the lead to 2-1. The Tar Heels tied things up in the following inning with a homer to left field off of the bat of first-year Johnny Castagnozzi.
The score remained tied at 2-2 heading into the top of the ninth, until Centracchio was able to plate his second RBI of the day off of a fielder's choice ground ball to second that scored speedy right fielder Caleb Roberts from third base. In the bottom of the ninth, Love stepped back on the mound and struck out all three Georgia Tech batters to give the Tar Heels a pivotal 3-2 victory.
Who stood out?
Starting pitching set the stage in Atlanta with aces Love of UNC and Hurter of Georgia Tech paving the way for their respective teams. Love emerged victorious, leading the Tar Heels to victory and throwing a complete game while allowing just two runs on no walks.
At the plate, Centracchio registered two key RBIs for the Tar Heels off of a second inning double to left center and a ninth inning fielder's choice that scored the game winning run.