Tar Heels take game one, down Stetson 7-4
Chapel Hill, NC (GoHeels.com) – Home runs from Cody Roberts and Michael Busch helped propel the No. 6 Tar Heels past No. 11 Stetson 7-4 on Friday afternoon in game one of the three-game NCAA Chapel Hill Super Regional. Cooper Criswell picked up the win on the mound before Josh Hiatt and Austin Bergner closed things out for the Heels.
Stetson wasted little time in the first inning getting on the board for the first time in the Super Regional with a one out solo home run from Mike Spooner to take the 1-0 lead. The Hatters were looking to tack on a few more with runners in scoring position, but Criswell settled down and struck out Jorge Arenas to end the inning.
The Tar Heels responded with a run of their own in the bottom half of the frame to tie things up. After Michael Busch’s walk, Cody Roberts doubled down the third base line on the first pitch he saw to put runners in scoring position. Brandon Riley sent a ball to left field that was deep enough to bring Busch home from first and even the score.
Both Logan Gilbert and Criswell settled in to a nice pitcher’s duel over the next couple innings, throwing three shutout innings as we went to the fifth inning knotted up, 1-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Tar Heels went back on top thanks to a two-out, three-run home run from Cody Roberts for the 4-1 lead. Kyle Datres started the two-out rally with a single up the middle before Busch walked to put two runners on for Roberts who lined a hanging curveball over the left field wall.
Stetson responded with two runs in the top of the seventh to make it a one run game at 4-3. After scoring one run to cut the lead in half, the Hatters had runners on the corners with no outs, but Josh Hiatt came on to get the Heels out of a tight spot and preserve the one-run lead.
Carolina wasted no time getting those two runs back courtesy of clutch hitting from Michael Busch. After Datres was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game, Busch sent a ball high over the right field wall to put the Heels back on top 6-3. The Tar Heels tacked on more run after Gahagan walked with the bases loaded, but they couldn’t plate anymore as they went to the eighth with a 7-3 lead.
After getting the first two outs of the inning, Hiatt ran in to a little trouble against the Hatters giving up one run and with runners on base to make it 7-4. With two runners on and two outs, Austin Bergner stepped on the mound to close it out for the Heels.
North Carolina will be back in action tomorrow at 12 p.m. ET in game two of the three game series against the Hatters.