CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — No. 4 North Carolina scored four times in the eighth inning and secured its program-best eighth straight Atlantic Coast Conference series win with a 5-4 victory over No. 3 Clemson on Saturday afternoon at Boshamer Stadium. Zack Gahagan's sacrifice fly plated Brandon Riley with the game-winning run, and Josh Hiatt worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 13th save as the Tar Heels improved to 35-9 and 18-5 in the ACC.
Gianluca Dalatri and Clemson's Alex Eubanks staged a second straight pitcher's duel, and the Tigers (34-10, 16-7 ACC) used some timely hitting to score first again Saturday. The initial offense came earlier, however, as the visitors took a 3-1 lead after two innings. Robert Jolly's RBI double was the key hit in the frame, and he came around to score on a Jordan Greene sac fly. Kyle Datres' bare-handed pickup and throw home to end the inning kept CU from extending its lead.
Two games. Two rallies. Two wins.— Carolina Baseball (@DiamondHeels) April 29, 2017
Highlights from another exciting one at the Bosh as the Tar Heels take down Clemson, 5-4 pic.twitter.com/WDtc2spQfH
Brandon Riley and Tyler Lynn reached on consecutive pitches in the bottom of the second, with Lynn's double to right center getting the Tar Heels on the board. But Eubanks bounced back immediately to retire 15 of the next 17 batters he faced.
Dalatri was just as good in the middle innings, retiring 12 straight at one point before two Tigers reached to start the eighth. Clemson increased its lead to 4-1 with a Seth Beer sac fly, but Brett Daniels (4-0) stranded a pair to keep it a 3-run game and Carolina staged a thrilling rally for the second straight day.
Logan Warmoth got things started with a one-out single, and Ashton McGee followed with a single of his own to bring the tying run to the plate and chase Eubanks. After a wild pitch, Datres beat out an infield single before Riley's RBI single off Ryley Gillian (2-1) made it 4-3. Clemson went back to the bullpen for Jacob Hennessy, and Cody Roberts greeted him with a single to tie the game.
Lynn then drew an eight-pitch walk to load the bases, and Gahagan lifted an 0-2 pitch from Jeremy Beasley deep enough to left to plate Riley and give Carolina its first lead of the day.
Suddenly in front in the ninth, UNC turned to Hiatt to shut the door. The redshirt freshman right-hander continued his incredible 2017 with a perfect frame, punctuating the save with a swinging strikeout of Chase Pinder. Hiatt now has 13 saves, fifth most in program history and six shy of Michael Morin's school record of 19 set in 2012. With two more strikeouts Saturday, Hiatt has 48 in 35.1 innings of work.
Carolina will go for its third ACC sweep of the year Sunday at 1 p.m. ET with Jason Morgan set to start.