Feb. 28, 2009

Courtesy of North Carolina

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.  Tarron Robinson's pinch-hit sacrifice fly plated Garrett Gore to lift No. 1 North Carolina to a 4-3 walk-off win over Seton Hall Friday in game two of a doubleheader at Bryson Field at Boshamer Stadium. Starters Adam Warren and Keith Cantwell kept both offenses in check over the first six innings, but the Tar Heels (6-1) and Pirates (2-3) went back and forth late, combining for seven runs over the final three frames.

The victory was the second of the day for Carolina, which opened the series with a 5-1 win earlier Friday.

Ryan Graepel went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and his first career home run, and Levi Michael, Mark Fleury and Ben Bunting added two hits apiece to lead the Carolina at the plate.

Right-hander Matt Harvey (2-0) made his fourth career relief appearance and earned the win after retiring all three batters he faced, including two via strikeout, in the ninth. Brian Moran struck out three and allowed one run over 1 2/3 in his second appearance of the day.

Warren faced the minimum through three, cruised through six and finished his night allowing two runs on four hits and a walk over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out eight, including the side in the fifth, to come within one of a career-best strikeout total in the no-decision.

Cantwell (1-1) scattered nine hits and allowed three runs over 7 1/3, while striking out four. He held the Tar Heels hitless until the fifth and did not walk a batter. Henry Warner (0-1) took the loss for the Pirates, who got two hits from Chris Sangnuolo and two RBI from Chris Fontenelli to lead the offense.

With the score tied at three heading into the bottom of the ninth, Gore reached on an error to lead off the inning. A Fleury single and an intentional pass to Bunting loaded the bases for Robinson, who lofted a Matt Singer offering to left field to score Gore with the game-winner.

After Cantwell kept UNC out of the hit column for four innings, the Tar Heels broke through with singles by Gore and Bunting in the fifth but stranded their fifth runner at third on the day to preserve the scoreless tie for one more inning. Graepel unknotted the score in the sixth with his first career home run * a solo shot to left on a 1-1 offering from Cantwell * for a one-run Tar Heel lead through six.

Warren held Seton Hall to just one hit through six and set down nine straight until three consecutive base hits gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead in the seventh. Chris Affinito started the one-out rally with a single to left center, and Spagnuolo doubled to left to put a pair in scoring position. Fontenelli then singled to right center to clear the bases and end the night for Warren.

After Moran picked up the next two outs to end the threat, Carolina bounced back to tie the score on an RBI single by Fleury in the bottom of the inning. Kyle Seager led off with a single to center, was sacrificed to second and scored when Fleury dropped a base hit into shallow center for his team-best 10th RBI.

With the scored tied at two, Graepel led off the bottom of the eighth with an infield single, moved to third on a wild pitch and a sacrifice bunt and crossed the plate on Michael*s single up the middle for the go-ahead run.  

The 3-2 lead was short lived, however, as Matt Smedberg tripled to left center off Moran and scored the tying run on a Charlie Rivera sacrifice fly off Harvey to send the game to the bottom of the ninth to set up the walk-off heroics by Robinson.

The series is scheduled to conclude at 2 p.m. Saturday. Stay tuned to TarHeelBlue.com for schedule changes, if necessary.