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North Carolina Athletics | April 29, 2017

No. 4 UNC rallies past No. 3 Clemson, 5-1

  Michael Busch's three-run double put the Tar Heels in front for the first time.

CHAPEL HILL --- No. 4 North Carolina scored five times with two outs in the seventh to rally past No. 3 Clemson 5-1 Friday evening at Boshamer Stadium. Michael Busch's three-run double put the Tar Heels in front for the first time and helped J.B. Bukauskas improve to 8-0 on the year.

Bukauskas and Clemson's Charlie Barnes pitched to a draw through five scoreless innings before the Tigers (34-9, 16-6 ACC) opened the scoring on Chris Williams' leadoff homer in the sixth. Bukauskas then walked Seth Beer on four pitches but retired the last six men he faced in order to keep it 1-0.

Barnes (4-3) opened the home half of the seventh with back-to-back strikeouts, his seventh and eighth of the night, but he would not record another out. Brandon Riley and Cody Roberts singled, and when Barnes' fourth ball to Tyler Lynn went to the backstop, Riley scampered home to tie the game.

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After Barnes walked Gahagan on five pitches, the Tigers called on righty Patrick Andrews to face Busch with the bases loaded. The Tar Heel freshman came up with his third game-changing hit of the year with a line-drive double to right center that cleared the bases and the Carolina dugout. Brian Miller was the sixth straight UNC batter to reach with his RBI single off Alex Schnell that made it 5-1.

With the lead in hand, Carolina turned to freshman closer Josh Hiatt for the final six outs. The right-hander from Charlotte allowed a leadoff single in the eighth and a pair of hits in the ninth, but he struck out Chase Pinder to end it and increase the Tar Heels' lead in the ACC Coastal to five games over second-place Virginia.

Bukauskas allowed just five hits over 7.0 innings and struck out seven to move into 10th on the UNC career strikeout list with 274. He also became the first Carolina pitcher to start a season 8-0 since Trent Thornton in 2013.

Ashton McGee, who was the only Tar Heel with a hit over the first six innings, and Clemson's Jordan Greene were the only players with multiple hits on a night when Carolina's bench and bullpen proved to be the difference.

Game two of the series is set for Saturday with UNC's Gianluca Dalatri seeking his fourth straight win.

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