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Monday Baseball Report(5/14)

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Last Week’s Results: Defeated UNCW 4-2. Swept Duke
Record Last Week: 4-0
Overall Record: 38-13
ACC Record: 19-8 1st place Coastal Division; Clinched division title
Upcoming Schedule: 5/15 at UNC Asheville, 5/17-/5/19 vs Virginia Tech

Coastal Division Champions!

UNC had another 4-0 week and have now won nine straight games, the longest such streak of the season.

The Heels opened up the week with a 4-2 win over UNC Wilmington. The Heels jumped out to a 4-0 lead through six innings with Adam Griffin collecting a couple of RBIs on sacrifice flies. Benton Moss started the game and staff ace Kent Emanuel made a relief appearance with Michael Morin getting his 14th save of the season.

The weekend series with Duke saw the Heels get some outstanding pitching from on the way to the sweep. Kent Emanuel dueled with Duke's Marcus Stroman on Friday for the 2-1 win. Stroman, who is being projected as a first round pick in the upcoming MLB Draft consistently pitched out of trouble only giving up two runs. Emanuel moved to 7-3 on the season giving up one run on five hits in eight innings of work. Morin retired the side in order in the ninth for his 15th save. The two Tar Heel runs came in the 2nd off a throwing error by the Duke catcher then a triple from Chaz Frank.

On Saturday, the game was tight early before the Heels opened things up on the way to a 15-1 win, the Heels second 15 run game in as many weekends. Heading into the 6th inning UNC was clinging to a 2-1 lead when a Colin Moran double plated two runs. The Heels tacked on a third in the 6th then scored two in the 7th, two in the 8th and six in the 9th. Duke, which can best be described as hapless, committed four errors in the Saturday game after committing three on Friday. R.C. Orlan ran his record to 8-1, all in relief.

UNC came back on Sunday looking for the sweep and got a huge starting performance from Shane Taylor to grab a 3-0 win and clinch the Coastal Division. Sophomore pitcher Hobbs Johnson was originally slated as the starter for this game but fell ill on Saturday. Mike Fox turned to Taylor who did not disappoint with eight shutout innings. Taylor gave up one hit and one walk while striking out eight and retiring the final 15 batters he faced. With Morin's scoreless ninth for his 16th save, UNC did not allow a hit over the final six innings. Brian Holberton's two RBI single was part of a three run 8th than gave the Heels the winning margin.

The sweep over Duke puts UNC three games ahead of Virginia in the Coastal Division with three ACC games left to play. Since UNC swept UVa earlier in the season, the Heels control the tiebreaker over the Cavaliers. By securing first in the Coastal, UNC is locked into the #2 seed in the ACC Tournament and would be assured of not facing Atlantic Division leader and #1 team in the country, Florida State, until the championship game should the Heels advanced that far.

UNC has four games remaining against UNC Asheville in Asheville mid-week then hosting Virginia Tech. Given the Hokies status as a top 40 RPI team, a series win or sweep would be highly beneficial to UNC's national seeding situation.