By a narrow margin, the North Carolina baseball team (33-20, 14-13) lost to the No. 7 Clemson Tigers (38-17, 19-10), 5-4, in South Carolina at Doug Kingsmore Stadium as the Tigers walked it off on a single in the bottom of the ninth.
Unlike the previous game, the Tar Heels struck first as outfielder Patrick Alvarez smashed a ball 361 feet over the right field fence on a fastball to plate three runs. The Charlotte native got his first start today since an injury during the Miami series, and showed how valuable his bat is by scoring catcher Tomas Frick who singled and third baseman Johnny Castagnozzi who walked earlier in the inning.
UNC starter Jake Knapp retired all three of the batters he faced in the second frame, showing stability and a solid fastball.
Clemson struck back quickly, plating three runs of their own in the third frame on a hit by pitch and a single to right-center.
Despite the dynamite start by the Tar Heels, the Tigers captured the lead as Cam Cannerella hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score infielder Blake Wright and give Clemson a one run advantage over UNC.
Pitcher Ben Peterson relieved Knapp to get the final out of the fourth, and led the Tar Heels until the eighth inning.
The bullpen also produced for the Tigers, with freshman Tristian Smith striking out all three Tar Heel hitters in the sixth as UNC did not have any answers for his electric fastball.
However, the Tar Heels found a semblance of offensive movement in the seventh as Alvarez drew a walk, Casey Cook singled — and continued his historic on base streak — as well as second baseman Jackson Van De Brake, whose walk loaded the bases. Outfielder Mac Horvath flew out to the warning track to end the inning with the Tar Heels coming up empty-handed.