Luke Putkonen allowed just one hit over five innings Tuesday to move to 4-0 this season.
April 4, 2006
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Right-hander Luke Putkonen and three relievers combined on a two-hitter, and third baseman Reid Fronk homered and drove in three runs to lead No. 2 North Carolina to a 9-1 victory over visiting Elon Tuesday at Boshamer Stadium. Fronk was one of four Tar Heels with multi-hit games as Carolina (24-6) pounded out 10 or more hits for the third time in the last four games.
Putkonen (4-0) allowed just one run on the one hit and four walks in five strong innings. The Marrietta, Ga., product tied a career high with four strikeouts and retired 15 of the 18 batters he faced before walking the first two hitters in the sixth and giving way to righty Tyler Trice, who worked two scoreless frames. Sophomore Rob Wooten tossed a scoreless eighth, and freshman Brian Farrell closed out the win with a perfect ninth. The Tar Heels have now allowed three runs or less in nine of their last 11 games.
Fronk was 2-for-4 with a two-run double in the second and a solo home run, his career-best fifth of the season, in the fourth. In just his third start of the season, second baseman Garrett Gore recorded his first career multi-hit game on a 2-for-4 effort with two RBI.
Left fielder Jay Cox went 2-for-2 with two walks and a career high-tying four runs scored, while right fielder Matt Spencer was 2-for-2 with two RBI coming on a fourth inning double and a seventh inning sacrifice fly. Shortstop Josh Horton went hitless for just the third game this season, snapping a 12-game hit streak.
Elon starter Tom Porter (1-2) took the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits and four walks.
A 10-3 loser to the Phoenix a year ago, Carolina jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second, as two runs scored on a fielding error by Elon first baseman Chris Vasami, and Fronk followed with his two-run double. The Tar Heels loaded the bases on back-to-back singles by Cox and catcher Tim Federowicz and a walk to Spencer before Gore slapped a grounder toward first that Vasami booted. Cox and Federowicz both scored on the play, and two batters later Fronk doubled to center to score two more runs.
Elon (22-11) countered with a run in the top of the third as catcher Patrick Irvine doubled and scored on a groundout second baseman Donny Jobe. But Gore quickly got that run back for the Tar Heels with a two-out single in the bottom of the inning to drive in Cox, who walked to lead off the inning.
Fronk's solo homer to right in the fourth pushed the lead to 6-1, and the Tar Heels tacked on two more in the fifth to build a seven-run cushion. Cox singled and scored on a double to right center by Spencer, who later scored on an RBI fielder's choice from pinch hitter Matt Iannetta. Spencer also plated Cox for the Tar Heels' final run with a seventh inning sac fly.
The Tar Heels are back in action Wednesday against Davidson at 6 p.m.