June 4, 2010

NORMAN, OKLA. --- Junior Matt Harvey pitched six strong innings to lead North Carolina over California 12-2 Friday night in the second game of the Norman Regional at L. Dale Mitchell Park. UNC never trailed after a six-run first frame improving to 37-20 overall.

Harvey (8-3) notched nine strikeouts and allowed just two runs on four hits. The Mystic, Conn., native moves into ninth all-time in career strikeouts (263) and tenth all-time in career wins (22) in Tar Heel history. Freshman Michael Morin pitched 2.1 strong innings allowing just one run on four hits. Greg Holt closed out the game recording the final two outs.

Ben Bunting and Jacob Stallings paced Carolina offensively with two hits and two RBI apiece. Dillon Hazlett notched a three-run home run, his first long ball since March 16, to plate UNC's first runs. Mike Cavasinni, Ryan Graepel and Brian Goodwin all added two hits apiece as the Tar Heels notched 12 total hits.

Starter Justin Jones (10-6) suffers the loss failing to record an out, allowing four runs on two hits and one walk. The Golden Bears fall to 29-24 overall and will face elimination tomorrow.

The Tar Heels capitalized as Jones struggled to find the zone scoring six runs on fours hits in the opening frame. Hazlett launched a three-run home run over the left field fence to highlight Carolina's big inning. The six runs mark the second most in the first inning for UNC this season. Carolina manufactured eight runs in the first against Princeton March 16.

The Golden Bears manufactured their first run of the game on a RBI double off the bat of Tony Renda in the third frame. Harvey allowed just one hit and one run while striking out four through the first three innings.

The Tar Heels tacked on three more runs in the fourth courtesy of a Graepel RBI single and Bunting two-run home run. Bunting mashed just his fifth home run of his career as UNC extended their lead to 9-1.

The two teams traded runs in the fifth frame as Carolina led 10-2. A Stallings RBI double scored one for UNC and a Mark Canha RBI single manufactured one for Cal. Harvey wriggled out of a bases loaded jam with a timely 6-4-3 double play to end the fifth.

UNC added a pair of runs in the seventh to extend their lead to 12-2. A Canha solo home run in the eighth cut the Carolina lead to 12-3, but the Tar Heels proved too much.

Carolina has now scored eight or more runs in 16 of 24 of their first and second round games in the NCAA Tournament since 2006. Harvey is just two strikeouts away from passing current assistant and Robert Woodard, who is the all-time leader in career victories.

Carolina will face Oklahoma tomorrow night at 7 p.m. (CST) from L. Dale Mitchell Park. The Sooners defeated Oral Roberts 7-6 in extra innings in game one, pitting the Golden Eagles against the Golden Bears at 1 p.m. (CST) tomorrow.