ORLANDO -- No. 7 UCLA scored three times the sixth inning to break a 3-3 tie and held on for an 8-5 win against No. 13 North Carolina Friday afternoon at Jay Bergman Field on the campus of UCF. The two teams combined for 11 errors in a sloppy game that took nearly four hours and featured 12 pitchers. The series, which was moved from Chapel Hill due to winter weather, continues Saturday at 1 p.m.
Tyler Ramirez and Skye Bolt homered for the Tar Heels (3-1), who never led after falling behind 1-0 in the first.
James Kaprielian pitched into the seventh for UCLA (5-0) to pick up his second win in as many starts.
The Bruins jumped on UNC starter Benton Moss for three consecutive singles to start the game. The Tar Heel senior buckled down, however, and struck out the side to limit the damage. Moss struck out seven on the day, but lasted just 3.2 innings before yielding to the bullpen.
Ramirez homered on the first pitch he saw from Kaprielian to make it 1-1 in the second, and Bolt's two-out blast made it 2-2 in the third. But the Bruins kept the pressure on Carolina and finally broke it open in a wild top of the sixth.
Spencer Trayner (1-1) issued a one-out walk to Brett Stephens before back-to-back singles from Kevin Kramer and Luke Persico loaded the bases. Stephens scored on a wild pitch by Trayner before Kramer came home on a passed ball. Nick Raquet appeared to be out of trouble when he got Chris Keck to ground to second, but a throwing error extended the rally and made it 6-3.
Alex Raburn plated a run with a sac fly in the seventh and Hunter Williams had an RBI groundout in the ninth off All-America closer David Berg, but UCLA added insurance runs in the final two innings to keep the Tar Heels at bay.
Persico had three hits and two RBIs to lead a Bruin offense that out-hit Carolina 12-10 and manufactured eight runs despite leaving 16 men on base. Kaprielian struck out seven and did not issue a walk, and four UCLA relievers combined to close it out.