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North Carolina Athletics | March 6, 2015

UNC downs Duke 8-1

  Gallen struck out a career-high 12 batters, earning the first conference win for North Carolina.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Zac Gallen pitched into the eighth and had a career-high 12 strikeouts to lead No. 11 North Carolina past Duke 8-1 Friday afternoon at Boshamer Stadium in the ACC opener for both teams. Skye Bolt had three hits and drove in two runs, and Wood Myers extended his hit streak to 16 games for the Tar Heels, who have now won their conference lid-lifter in each of the past six seasons.

Gallen (1-1) established a new career high in strikeouts for the second consecutive outing, and he was dominant from the start. The sophomore struck out the side in the first and was already up to 10 strikeouts through four. Duke (10-2, 0-1 ACC) did not get a runner past second until the eighth, when Jalen Phillips doubled off the chalk in right and eventually scored on a wild pitch. 

By then, however, it was too late, as Carolina (9-3, 1-0 ACC) had built a 5-0 lead through seven and extended it to the eventual final score with a three-run eighth. 

Duke starter Andrew Istler (1-1) matched Gallen in the early innings before the Tar Heels got to him in the fourth. Bolt and Myers led off the frame with back-to-back infield singles before Landon Lassiter walked to load the bases.

A Tyler Ramirez sac fly and an Adrian Chacon RBI fielder's choice put UNC in front 2-0, and the hosts added single runs in each of the next three innings to pad the lead.

Trevor Kelley turned in his second consecutive shutout appearance out of the bullpen, as the senior from Wilmington got the final six outs of the game after a scoreless 5.1-inning performance Monday at Liberty. Korey Dunbar had a pair of hits, including his first career triple, and six different Tar Heels drove in runs.

But the day belonged to Gallen, who got the ball in the ACC opener after being pushed to the bullpen to start the year and responded with a second consecutive stellar start after returning to the weekend rotation.

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