Surrendering eight runs late in the game proved fatal as the No. 13 North Carolina baseball team (18-7), fell to Coastal Carolina (15-7) by a score of 12-7, on Tuesday evening at Boshamer Stadium.
First-year pitcher Cameron Padgett started on the mound for the Tar Heels and held the Chanticleers scoreless for the first two frames.
In the third, Coastal Carolina struck first after a throwing error by junior catcher Tomas Frick on a failed pickoff attempt plated a runner. The Tar Heels responded in the third despite having zero hits in the frame. After getting hit by three pitches, UNC scored three runs before a double play ended the threat.
Coastal Carolina tied the game at three runs apiece in the top of the fourth thanks to a two-out rally, but North Carolina got its offense going with a two-out rally of its own in the bottom of the fifth.
Junior second baseman Jackson Van De Brake gave the Tar Heels their first hit of the game as he doubled down the left field line and was driven in on a single to left field by Frick. Later, he was plated by redshirt first-year utility player Casey Cook, who dropped a line drive into right to give his team a 5-3 lead.
After the Chanticleers scored a run in the ensuing half inning, the Tar Heels added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh to go up 7-4. The Heels did their work with two outs once again, as junior third baseman Johnny Castagnozzi double to right center and unveiled his mano a borsa celebration.
However, the lead was short lived, as the Chanticleers found their fire in the eighth by scoring eight runs on four different Tar Heel pitchers. UNC head coach Scott Forbes was ejected – an occurrence that happened in the previous year's game against the Chanticleers – which caused the Tar Heels to play the rest of the game in his absence.
North Carolina recorded two hits over the next two innings, but the deficit was too large to overcome and the team fell 12-7.
Who stood out?
Redshirt first-year Casey Cook went 2-for-4 at the plate with and RBI and propelled the Tar Heels' rally in the bottom of the fifth.
Despite letting up a solo shot in the top of the sixth, graduate reliever Kevin Eaise showed command on the mound, racking up five strikeouts in 3.2 innings of work.
When was it decided?
The eighth inning saw four UNC pitchers take the mound and three failed to record an out. The Chanticleers posted eight runs in the frame, which ultimately sealed the Tar Heels' fate.
Why does it matter?
After tying their season high for errors in the second game of the Duke series and scraping out a 5-3 win a day later to clinch their first ACC series, the Tar Heels are looking to find consistency both at the plate, on the mound and in the field.
UNC was held hitless until the fifth inning but had success in two-out situations. The team will look to find offensive consistency and momentum going into its road matchups with Notre Dame, Georgia Tech and No. 9 South Carolina.
When do they play next?
The Diamond Heels will begin a seven-game road stint on Friday when they take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in South Bend Ind. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
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