No. 13 North Carolina walks off to beat Georgia Tech in 11 innings
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Wood Myers singled home Brandon Whiteford in the bottom of the 11th to give No. 13 North Carolina a series-opening 3-2 win against Georgia Tech on Friday night at Boshamer Stadium. Reilly Hovis threw three scoreless innings in relief of Trent Thornton for his fourth win of the year as Carolina improved to 15-6 and 5-2 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.
It was a battle of dynamic pitchers in the first of a three-game set as Trent Thornton and Hovis battled a trio of Yellow Jacket hurlers to a stalemate for 10 innings. Thornton was dominant for the Tar Heels for eight innings, but Georgia Tech (13-9, 3-4 ACC) manufactured a pair of runs despite just four hits against the sophomore standout.
Keenan Innis led off the third with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After a groundout moved Innis to third with one out, Arden Pabst grounded to short where Michael Russell made a nice stab in on the grass. But his only play was to first, and Innis scored to give the Yellow Jackets a 1-0 lead.
Carolina had runners on in each of the first four innings before finally getting to Georgia Tech starter Josh Heddinger in the fifth. Landon Lassiter led off the frame with a single and scored on a Wood Myers double to tie the game. Myers, who took third on an error on the play, then scored on Tom Zengel's sacrifice fly.
Thornton sailed through the sixth and seventh before the Yellow Jackets tied it up in the eighth. Connor Justus opened the frame with a single and Pabst tried to sacrifice bunt. But Pabst's attempt died on the first base line and two were on with no outs. Daniel Spingola bunted both men into scoring position before Mott Hyde's sac fly tied it. Thornton escaped further trouble, however, by getting his eighth and final strikeout of the night to end the inning.
Meanwhile, the Georgia Tech relief combo of Sam Clay and Dusty Isaacs kept the Tar Heel bats silent. Clay was especially impressive as the lefty went 3.2 scoreless innings with six strikeouts. For the game, Carolina batters struck out a season-high 16 times.
But Hovis was just as good for Carolina, facing the minimum during the final three innings to set the stage for Myers' heroics in the 11th. He needed just 36 pitches to record nine outs, and the lone baserunner was cut down trying to steal second by Korey Dunbar.
Joe Dudek, who entered the at-bat 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, led off the home half of the 11th with a five-pitch walk. After Michael Massardo bunted him to second, Dudek was lifted for Whiteford and Lassiter grounded to third for the second out. Myers, who drove in two of the three Tar Heel runs and had two of their six hits, grounded through the left side and Whiteford's acrobatic head-first slide beat the throw from Matt Gonzalez to set off a Carolina celebration.
It was the only hit allowed by Isaacs (2-3), who struck out three in two innings.
Russell was 1-for-1 but reached base in all five plate appearances as the top of the Carolina lineup combined for five hits, four walks and just one strikeout.