College baseball: UNC hits 20-run mark for the first time in four years
CHARLOTTE -- No. 5 North Carolina hit the 20 run mark for the first time in four years and won its ninth straight game with a 20-5 victory over No. 14 South Carolina Tuesday night at BB&T Ballpark. Kyle Datres had a three-run triple in a four-run first inning to start another impressive offensive showing for the Tar Heels, who have scored in double figures in each of their last four games.
All nine starters had hits and 10 different UNC batters drove in runs, led by four from Datres, three from Tyler Lynn and two each from Brian Miller, Logan Warmoth, Brandon Riley and Zack Gahagan.
Combined with the 48 runs from the weekend's sweep at Boston College, Carolina has now scored 68 runs in its last four games, the most in a four-game stretch since the 1987 Tar Heels plated 68 over four games against SUNY Buffalo, Connecticut and Rider.
Carolina (27-6) jumped on Gamecock starter Cody Morris (2-1) for four runs in the first and added two in the third and six in the fourth to break it open. The Tar Heels added seven more in the seventh to reach the 20-run mark for the first time since a 21-8 win at Virginia Tech in 2013.
Miller, Warmoth, Datres, Cody Roberts and Ashton McGee each scored three times for Carolina.
Jason Morgan (3-0) struck out five over four innings in relief of Tyler Baum to get the win. Rodney Hutchison Jr., Brett Daniels and Josh Hiatt got the final nine outs to wrap up the second straight 15-run win in the series. Prior to last season's 15-0 victory, the Gamecocks hadn't suffered a 15-run loss since 1997.
South Carolina (21-11) used 10 pitchers on the night, with only John Park, Reed Scott and Tyler Johnson recording more than two outs.
Tuesday's game was seen by 10,049 fans, the second straight year the border rivals have drawn more than 10,000 to BB&T Ballpark. Last year's crowd of 10,205 was the largest ever to watch a regular season game in the state of North Carolina.
Carolina has now been a part of the four biggest college games in state history. In 2012, UNC beat North Carolina State 4-0 in front of 10,229 in the ACC tournament at Greensboro's NewBridge Bank Park. One year later, the Triangle rivals played an 18-inning classic at Durham Bulls Athletic Park that the Tar Heels won 2-1 en route to an ACC title.
The day started with national champion basketball coaches Roy Williams and Dawn Staley throwing out ceremonial first pitches.
UNC will return to action Friday with the first of three against NC State at 6:30 p.m. in Chapel Hill.