Five-Run First Dooms Demon Deacons in 7-3 Loss to No. 5 UNC
March 31, 2012
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The Wake Forest baseball team never recovered from a five-run first inning, dropping a 7-3 decision to No. 5 North Carolina as the Tar Heels evened the weekend series on Saturday at Boshamer Stadium.
The Tar Heels plated five in the opening frame against Wake Forest starter Justin Van Grouw (1-3), but the righty recovered and pitched four more innings of one run ball to keep the Deacs in the game. He ended the contest with a pair of strikeouts and just one walk.
The Demon Deacons would outscore UNC 3-2 the rest of the way but could not capitalize on several chances after putting runners in scoring position six straight innings - the second through the seventh - and ultimately stranding 11 runners.
Niko Spezial and Nate Jones each contributed an inning-plus of relief, scattering two hits and one run over the final three innings as Hobbs Johnson (1-0) picked up the win for the Tar Heels who are now 21-6 overall and 8-3 in conference play.
Carlos Lopez, Charlie Morgan and Evan Stephens all went 2-for-4 to lead the way offensively for Wake Forest, while the Deacs finished with nine hits in the game. Morgan and Brett Armour, who finished 1-for-3 with a run scored, supplied the only two RBI.
After UNC staked a 6-0 lead through three, the Deacs got on the board with a run in the fourth beginning with a Morgan double. The Deacon designated hitter would later come around to score on a single to left by Armour.
Wake Forest added another in the fifth when Mac Williamson was plated on a single to center by Morgan.
The Deacs got as close as 6-3 in the sixth as Armour crossed the plate on a botched pickoff attempt by North Carolina catcher Jacob Stallings, but UNC tacked on a run in the bottom of the sixth and four UNC relievers limited the Deacs to just two hits over the final three innings to seal the game.
Both squads will be back at it in the rubber game of the series tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Boshamer Stadium.