Chad Flack had three hits in the Tar Heels loss at UNCG.
April 18, 2006
GREENSBORO, N.C. - No. 1 North Carolina committed a season-high five errors and allowed six unearned runs in a 7-6 loss to UNC Greensboro Tuesday at UNCG Baseball Stadium. The Tar Heels (31-8) rallied to tie the game at four in the seventh and got within one in the ninth, but the Spartans (17-22) were able to hold on to hand Carolina its first midweek loss of the season.
UNC made at least three errors for the fourth time in its last five games and allowed at least four unearned runs for the third time in its last four outings. The Tar Heels last committed five errors April 26, 2005 at UNC Wilmington.
Despite the miscues, Carolina still had its chances late as first baseman Chad Flack came through with a two-run single in the ninth to bring the Tar Heels within a run, but UNCG reliever Patrick Currin picked up a game-ending grounder to earn his seventh save of the season. Carolina also stranded runners at second and third in the eighth before leaving runners at the corners in the final frame.
Flack led the Tar Heels at the plate with a 3-for-5 effort and two RBI. He has hit safely in six straight and owns four consecutive multi-hit games. Shortstop Josh Horton also had two hits, while catcher Tim Federowicz singled to push his hit streaks to six games. Right fielder Matt Spencer hit his sixth home run of the season in the seventh. Carolina outhit UNCG, 11-9, on the night.
Spartans' reliever Ryan Falcon picked up the win with a scoreless inning of relief before Currin came on to strike out four of the nine batters he faced over the final 1.2 innings.
Carolina reliever Mike Facchinei took his first loss after allowing the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh. The Tar Heels used six pitchers on the night.
In the bottom of the first, back-to-back errors by third baseman Reid Fronk put two on for the Spartans before first baseman Wes McCall came through with a two-run single to put the Tar Heels in an early hole.
Carolina cut the lead in half in the second on a sacrifice fly by Federowicz. Designated hitter Benji Johnson and Flack singled to lead off the inning and a bunt by Jay Cox put the runners in scoring position before Federowicz lofted a fly ball to right for his 38th RBI of the year, which is good for a share of the team lead.
The Tar Heels' third miscue led to two more runs for UNCG in the fourth and a 4-1 lead. Federowicz fielded a Brandon Harvey dribbler in front of the plate but his errant throw to first put runners on second and third with just one out. Right fielder Sean Snell pushed the lead to 3-1 with an RBI grounder, and catcher Adam Deleo followed with a single through the right side to cap the scoring for the Spartans.
Spencer cut the UNCG lead in half and chased starter Clay Gibson with his first home run since March 17 to lead off the seventh. Center fielder Seth Williams doubled two batters later and second baseman Bryan Steed was hit by a pitch before Kyle Shelton blooped his first career triple down the right field line to tie the game.
The Spartans reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the seventh as shortstop David Adams doubled to left center off Facchinei and took third on a throwing error by Shelton. The Tar Heels then went to senior Jonathan Hovis, who allowed a double to right by center fielder Jermaine Mitchell to give UNCG a 5-4 lead.
UNCG tacked on two more unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 7-4 lead. After the fifth error of the night and a pair of walks, third baseman Guy Welsh doubled off Fronk's glove to score two off reliever Adam Warren.
Gibson pitched well but did not figure into the decision for the Spartans. He allowed two runs on six hits and a walk over six-plus innings before being pulled after Spencer's homer. UNC starter Luke Putkonen struck out two and allowed five hits over 3.2 innings, but three errors by the Carolina defense led to four unearned runs against him.
The Tar Heels return to conference action this weekend at home against No. 7 NC State. Game times are 7 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.