April 18, 2009

 

Courtesy of North Carolina

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. * All-America right-hander Alex White fired North Carolina*s first one-hitter since 1994 to lead the No. 4 Tar Heels past No. 7 Miami, 3-0, Friday at Boshamer Stadium. White faced only 28 batters - just one over the minimum - and struck out 10 to claim his first career complete-game shutout.

White, who improved to 6-1 with the victory, outdueled Miami lefty Chris Hernandez (4-3) in a meeting of the last year*s ACC Pitcher of the Year and ACC Freshman of the Year. He allowed just one hit, a third-inning Dave DiNatale single, and issued only one walk in the eighth. In between, White set down 14 straight batters.

After working 8 1/3 in a tough-luck loss at Florida State last week, White would not be denied his second career complete game, as he struck out the side in the ninth to record his fifth career double-digit strikeout effort. Over his last four starts, all against top-20 opponents, White owns a 1.93 ERA, 36 strikeouts and has allowed only 17 hits in 32 2/3 innings. He has pitched at least seven innings in five straight starts and has six straight outings with at least eight strikeouts.

The one-hitter was the first by a Tar Heel since Brian Willman one-hit Clemson April 23, 1994, and the complete-game shutout was the program*s first since Robert Woodard blanked Duke April 13, 2007.
As a team, UNC now has a pair of one-hitters this season, as four pitchers combined on one versus Princeton March 17.

Fellow All-Americas Kyle Seager and Dustin Ackley provided all the offense White would need, as Seager was 3-for-4 with an RBI, and Ackley
went 2-for-3 and drove in a run.   

Hernandez worked 6 2/3 strong innings, holding the Tar Heels in check for much of the night. He allowed three runs, just two of which were earned, on eight hits and two walks, while striking out six. The lefty allowed just one unearned run until Carolina struck for two insurance runs in the seventh and ended his outing.

Seager, who extended his current hitting streak to 10 games, started a fourth-inning scoring rally with a single to left center. Levi Michael was then hit by a pitch to move Seager into scoring position, and Mark Fleury followed with a grounder to Miami first baseman Jason Hagerty, whose throw to second hit Michael in the back and allowed Seager to score the first run of the night.

Carolina missed an opportunity to break things open in the fifth when it loaded the bases with just one out, but Hernandez buckled down to strike out Seager and Michael to keep the Tar Heel lead at 1-0.

The one-run cushion held up until UNC scored twice in the seventh with a two-out rally. Garrett Gore walked and scored when Ackley roped his ninth double of the season to center field, and Seager followed with a single up the middle to end the night for Hernandez and push advantage to the 3-0 final score.

The series continues at 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. Tomorrow*s game will be televised locally by FSN South.


UNC Polishes Off Sweep Of Miami

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. * Right-hander Matt Harvey matched a season-high with seven strong innings, and All-America Dustin Ackley went 4-for-4 with two extra-base hits to spark No. 4 North Carolina to a 4-1 win and a series sweep of No. 7 Miami Sunday at Boshamer Stadium. The Tar Heels (31-10, 13-7 ACC) earned their first three-game sweep in ACC play this season and improved to 9-1 in their last 10 games against the Hurricanes (26-13, 11-10 ACC).

Harvey, who ran his record to 5-1 with the win, held Miami to one run on six hits and four walks over seven innings, which matched his March 8 start versus Clemson for his longest outing of the year. He struck out five en route to his first victory in a start since Feb. 28 against Seton Hall. In two outings this week, Harvey fanned 10 over 10 1/3 innings.

Lefty Brian Moran worked the final two innings and struck out four of the seven batters he faced to earn his first save and close out a combined six-hitter. Carolina pitching held Miami to just five runs and
16 hits in 27 innings this weekend.

Ackley, who tripled in the first, doubled in the seventh and scored two runs, recorded his 13th career game with four or more hits and fourth this season.

Ryan Graepel, who was 2-for-4 with two RBI, connected on his second career home run and was one of three Tar Heels with two hits on the afternoon. Kyle Seager was 2-for-4 with an RBI double to push his hitting streak to 12 games, and Levi Michael was 2-for-2 with an RBI.

Miami lefty Iden Nazario (4-2) pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on eight hits and two walks, while striking out four. Dave DiNatale was 2-for-2 with a walk for the Hurricanes, who were swept for the first time since their last visit to Chapel Hill in 2007.

Miami went in front in the third when DiNatale doubled off the left field wall, took third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Scott Lawson*s RBI grounder to second.

Mark Fleury, the hero of Saturday*s win, came through again in the fourth when his double led to the game-tying run for the Tar Heels. The Carolina catcher sent a 2-2 pitch off the wall in center and scored when Michael followed two batters later with a single to center to knot the score at one.

After the Tar Heels turned a sharp 6-4-3 double play to end the Miami half off the fifth, Carolina took its first lead with a two-out rally in the bottom of the inning when Ackley singled to left for his third hit of the afternoon and scored from first when Seager roped his 20th double to right center.

The Hurricanes threatened in the sixth when Ryan Jackson singled for Miami*s lone hit after the fifth and stole second and third. Chris Herrmann walked to put runners on the corners, but Harvey got Yasmani Grandal to fly out to left to end the inning and preserve the one-run cushion.

After Harvey wriggled out of the jam, Graepel sent the first pitch Nazario threw in the bottom of the inning out to left center for his second homer and a 3-1 advantage for the Tar Heels.

Ackley doubled to lead off the seventh and scored on a bunt single by Graepel to put Carolina in the scoring column for the fourth straight inning. Following Ackley*s fourth hit of the day, Seager dropped a bunt single towards third base, and Graepel then pushed a perfect bunt single back towards the mound to score Ackley on a squeeze play for a
4-1 lead.

The Tar Heels are back in action Tuesday against UNC Wilmington at 6 p.m. at Boshamer Stadium.