North Carolina salvages finale against No. 4 Florida State to win 30th game
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Tyler Ramirez drove in Parks Jordan with a tiebreaking single in the bottom of the seventh, and North Carolina held on for a 5-4 win against No. 4 Florida State on Sunday afternoon. Jordan had two hits and Tom Zengel added an RBI double as the Tar Heels picked up win No. 30 and improved to 14-13 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
For the third game in a row Carolina (30-21) put two on in the first, but for the first time in the series the Tar Heels converted to take an early lead. Michael Russell led off with a walk and ended up on third when Jordan's sacrifice bunt was thrown wildly by FSU starter Dylan Silva. With runners on the corners, Landon Lassiter's grounder to short scored Russell to give the Tar Heels a 1-0 lead.
Alex Raburn reached on a one-out walk in the second and scored on Zengel's double to right. Two batters later, Korey Dunbar singled to center and Carolina was up 3-0. Jordan's RBI single up the middle in the fourth made it 4-0 and the Tar Heels looked to be in control.
UNC starter Zac Gallen, who needed a line drive double play to escape the first, faced the minimum over his next three innings before running into trouble in the fifth. Brett Knief's bloop single -- just the second of the game for the 'Noles -- started the FSU rally, and singles by Justin Gonzalez and Danny De La Calle chased the freshman righty.
On came Reilly Hovis, who allowed a run-scoring single to Josh Delph and a walk before striking out DJ Stewart to end the inning. But the Seminoles kept coming and tied it in the sixth without the benefit of a hit when Hank Truluck -- who had reached on a hit by pitch -- scored on a Hovis wild pitch.
FSU brought in its bullpen ace Gage Smith in the fifth, and the sidewinding righty retired the first seven batters he faced before the Tar Heels broke through in the seventh. Jordan reached on an infield single before Lassiter's single put two on with one out. Skye Bolt flew out to center, but Jordan was able to move up on the play, and the senior scored on Ramirez's two-out, two-strike single to right.
Staked to a 5-4 lead, Hovis (7-1) locked in. In his longest outing of the season, he allowed just a pair of singles in the final two innings. His strikeout of De La Calle ended it with the tying run aboard, and Carolina picked up its second straight Sunday win over a top-five opponent. Hovis struck out eight on the day in 4.1 innings, and now has 70 punchouts in 52.0 innings.
The Tar Heels reached the 30-win mark for the 16th consecutive season under head coach Mike Fox and the 17th year in a row overall.