Gardner-Webb upends No. 4 UNC
Collins finishes single shy of cycle, has five RBIs as Bulldogs roll
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Brad Collins finished a single shy of the cycle and drove in five runs to lift Gardner-Webb to a 7-4 victory against No. 4 North Carolina on Wednesday afternoon at Boshamer Stadium.
Gardner-Webb (10-7) rapped out a season-high 14 hits and picked up its first win against a top-10 team on the diamond since moving to NCAA Division I in 2001.
The Runnin' Bulldogs used two big innings to provide its scoring, plating four runs in the second and three in the seventh to spark their fourth win against a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Collins belted a three-run home run in the top of the second to put Gardner-Webb in front 4-1, and added a two-run double in the seventh to give the 'Dogs a 7-3 advantage.
North Carolina (14-4), which had won six games in a row coming in to Wednesday's game, jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first when Jacob Stallings drove in Chaz Frank with a single. Gardner-Webb took the lead for good in the next half inning, with Scott Coleman getting on via an error to lead off the frame. Adam McFarland singled to right to get two men on board, then Collins took a 3-1 pitch deep over the wall in left .
Gardner-Webb starter Andrew Barnett got out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the third with the 4-1 lead intact, and North Carolina reliever Shane Taylor returned the favor in the top of the fourth as GWU left three stranded.
The Tar Heels plated one run in the fifth and another in the sixth to trim the lead to 4-3, but Coleman drove home Dusty Quattlebaum with a single up the middle for a 5-3 lead and McFarland collected another hit to give Collins two more RBI chances. Collins delivered on an 0-1 pitch, doubling to left center to drive home Coleman and McFarland for a 7-3 edge.
Brian Holberton trimmed the lead to 7-4 in the bottom of the eighth with a sacrifice fly to drive in Colin Moran, but Gardner-Webb closer Adam Izokovic would keep the Tar Heels off the board the rest of the way to collect his fourth save of the season.
Gardner-Webb improved to 40-1-1 over the past two seasons when leading after the eighth inning.
Mitch Warner (1-0) earned the win, hurling one inning and allowing one run on three hits with two strikeouts. Jeff Howell worked two innings (two strikeouts) with one run allowed, and Izokovic worked two scoreless frames to close out the game.
Barnett allowed just two runs in four innings of work in a no decision start.
Collins (3-for-4, 2B, 3B, HR, five RBIs) and McFarland (3-for-5, two runs) paced Gardner-Webb's season-best afternoon at the dish. Benji Jackson (2-for-4), Scott Johnson (2-for-5, RBI) and Ryan Hodge (2-for-5) also had multiple hit games.
North Carolina starter Luis Paula (0-1) took the loss, allowing four runs on five hits in 1.1 innings of work. The Tar Heels collected 11 hits, with Jacob Stallings (3-for-4) and Tommy Coyle (3-for-5) leading that attack.