Andrew Miller moved to 6-0 with seven shutout innings versus top-ranked Florida State Friday.
March 31, 2006
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - One week after shutting down No. 4 Georgia Tech for seven innings on just four hits, North Carolina left-hander Andrew Miller did the same to top-ranked Florida State Friday as the No. 6 Tar Heels (22-5, 6-4 ACC) posted a 4-0 win over the Seminoles (26-3, 8-2 ACC) in an Atlantic Coast Conference series opener in front of 2,555 fans at Boshamer Stadium. Carolina's shutout was its first in 73 meetings with FSU and fifth this season.
Over seven innings, Miller (6-0) allowed four hits - just one out of the infield - and walked one. He fanned nine and now has 22 strikeouts in his last 14 innings. The Gainesville, Fla., lefty gave up just two hits over the first six innings before FSU threatened in the seventh on back-to-back, two-out infield singles. On the season, Miller now has 61 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 47 innings. His fourth shutout performance of six innings or more this season, Friday's win was the 20th of Miller's career.
Carolina relievers Jonathan Hovis and Andrew Carignan each worked out of jams in the eighth and ninth innings, stranding five runners over the final two frames to preserve the shutout. Miller, Hovis and Carignan combined to strikeout 13 batters, a season-high for FSU. Including Friday's performance, the Tar Heels have allowed three runs or less in eight of their last nine games.
FSU starter Bryan Henry (7-1) took his first loss and the first by a Seminole starter this season after allowing four runs on a season-high 10 hits over seven innings. He struck out eight and walked three as Florida State lost for just the second time in its last 25 games.
Four Tar Heels had multi-hit games led by shortstop Josh Horton, who was 3-for-4 with one run scored and one driven in to push his current hitting streak to 10 games. Center fielder Seth Williams was 2-for-3 and extended his season-best hitting streak to nine games, while first baseman Chad Flack and left fielder Jay Cox also had two hits apiece. Third baseman Reid Fronk hit the lone home run in the game, a solo shot in the fourth.
Following a one-out walk by Fronk and a single from Flack, Carolina found the scoring column in the third on a bloop single down the left field line by Horton, which drove in Fronk from second. After Williams was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Cox laced a double just inside the first base bag to score Flack and Horton and push the Tar Heels' lead to 3-0.
Fronk followed in the fourth with his solo homer for a four-run Carolina cushion. The Charlotte native hammered a 1-1 offering from Henry over the right field fence for his fourth home run of the season and the first allowed by Henry in nine starts this year.
The Tar Heels had runners on the corners with no one out in the fifth after singles by Horton and Williams but squandered a chance to break the game open. Horton was picked off third as Cox reached on a bunt single, and designated hitter Tim Federowicz followed with a double-play grounder to end the inning. Carolina also threatened in the seventh but left the bases loaded.
After Miller was pulled heading into the eighth, Hovis loaded the bases with no one out on a hit batter, a Shane Robinson double and a walk before working his way out of jam without any damage. FSU's leading RBI man Dennis Guinn lined out to second before Hovis struck out third baseman Ryne Malone swinging and got shortstop Buster Posey looking to end the inning.
Carignan also put two on the ninth before buckling down to end the game on a pair of strikeouts and groundout to second.
The Tar Heels have now won five straight against the Seminoles when they hold the No. 1 ranking dating back to a three-game sweep in 2002. Friday's win also snapped a five-game losing streak in the series for Carolina.
The series resumes at 1 p.m. Saturday on Fox Sports Net South and concludes at 1 p.m. Sunday. An audio broadcast of both games will be available on AM-1360 in Chapel Hill and at TarHeelBlue.com