Robert Woodard struck out seven to improve to 4-1 this season.
April 15, 2006
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Right-hander Robert Woodard allowed just one run over seven innings and matched a career high with seven strikeouts to lead No. 1 North Carolina to a 3-1 series-clinching win over Virginia Tech Saturday at Boshamer Stadium. Left fielder Jay Cox went 3-for-4 and drove in two runs to lead the Tar Heels (30-7, 11-6 ACC) to their third straight Atlantic Coast Conference series victory.
Now 13-0 at home in his career, Woodard (4-1) scattered nine hits and did not walk a batter en route to the 20th win of his career against just three losses. He has now worked at least six innings in seven of his nine starts this year and has won 15 of his last 16 decisions dating to 2004. The seven strikeouts Saturday equaled his career-best effort set three times last season.
Senior Jonathan Hovis came on to work a scoreless eighth, and sophomore Andrew Carignan put two on in the ninth before getting first baseman Sean O'Brien to fly out to end the game. Carignan now has nine saves on the season, which ranks seventh on the Tar Heels' single-season list. Only four Carolina relievers have saved at least 10 games in a season.
Cox led the Tar Heels with his 19th multi-hit game of the season and the 50th of his career. He tallied RBI singles in the first and eighth innings and also singled in the third. First baseman Chad Flack and shortstop Josh Horton added two hits each for the Tar Heels, who joined Florida State and Old Dominion as the only teams in the country with 30 or more wins as of Saturday afternoon.
Virginia Tech starter David Cross (2-6) allowed three runs on nine hits over 7.1 innings. He struck out three and set down 14 straight Carolina batters at one point before Adam Redd came on to get the final two outs in the eighth.
O'Brien and catcher Matt Foley each had three hits for the Hokies, who notched 11 hits but managed just the one run.
Carolina scored all the runs it would need in the first. Flack singled and stole second before Horton laced a single to center, which Hokie center fielder Nate Parks overran and let roll almost to the wall. The error allowed Flack to score and let Horton to move all the way to third. Cox followed two batters later with the first of his three singles to drive in Horton and give Carolina an early 2-0 advantage.
The Hokies trimmed the Tar Heels' lead to just one in the fifth when Parks singled and came around to score on a single by O'Brien.
After going down in order in four straight innings, Carolina picked up an insurance run in the eighth as Flack singled, took second on Horton's second hit of the day and scored on a single to left center by Cox, who reclaimed the team RBI lead by driving in two Saturday.
The series wraps up at 1:30 p.m. Sunday with right-hander Daniel Bard on the mound for the Tar Heels against Virginia Tech's Greg Fryman.