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ACC Tournament: UNC 13 Maryland 7


In what was a totally meaningless game for Maryland, UNC jumped out to a 7-2 lead before surrendering five runs in the seventh. The Heels bounced back to score six runs in the 8th to take their final game of ACC Tournament pool play 13-7. UNC finishes the ACC Tournament 1-2 in pool play with losses to Virginia and Florida State.

After spending most of the Friday game against Virginia unable to produce a hit with runners in scoring position, the Tar Heels made the most of those opportunities early. Landon Lassiter and Skye Bolt string together back-to-back doubles in the first to stake UNC a 1-0 lead. In the second Michael Russell, who was hobbled with back spasms, managed a two run single to push the Tar Heel lead to 3-0.

Meanwhile Zac Gallen was cruising on the mound until a line drive of his leg threw him off a bit and resulting in him giving up a two run homer to Maryland's Kevin Martir. Ultimately Gallen would settle down and keep Maryland in check. UNC seemingly opened the game up in the fifth taking advantage of an error to score two and getting a Zach Daly single to plate two more for a 7-2 lead.

Gallen held matters together until the seventh when he gave way to Trent Thornton after giving up a pair of singles. It was expected the Tar Heel ace would see work in this game and given the Heels were up 7-2, Thornton would be able to lock the game down. Except the complete opposite occurred. Thornton struggled mightily giving up four hits, allowing two inherited runners to score and three more on top of those as Maryland tied the game at 7-7. The next inning didn't go much better for Thornton who put two runners on with one out before giving way to closer Reilly Hovis. Hovis managed to get UNC out of the inning without further damage.

In the bottom of the 8th, the Tar Heel bats came back to life with UNC scoring six runs in the frame. At one point UNC reeled off four straight RBI singles to open the game up again. The fact Maryland chose not to expend the better arms in their bullpen ahead of the ACC Championship game on Sunday certainly helped.

UNC finishes the regular season and ACC Tournament 34-25 overall. Warren Nolan presently puts UNC at 40th overall with the 14th ranked strength of schedule. UNC is 8-12 against the top 50 and 14-20 against the top 100. Aaron Fitt with Baseball America was projecting UNC in the field after Friday's action. Certainly the win versus Maryland will only bolster the Heels' case.