After losing in the opening game of regionals, the margin of error for UNC disappeared. Messing around and losing one more game would mean the end of the season. At least so far, they haven’t messed around.
For the second straight game, North Carolina combined a big offensive day with a solid pitching effort to stave off elimination. The Tar Heels scored 10 runs on 15 hits and five walks. Meanwhile, starter Tyler Baum and the bullpen combined to allow just one run. UNC stayed alive with an impressive 10-1 win over Florida Gulf Coast.
UNC’s lineup started their barrage from the very first at bat. Brian Miller led off the game with a single, and then stole second. A walk and a fielder’s choice got Miller to third. Kyle Datres then grounded out, but it was enough for Miller to score and put the Tar Heels on the board early.
Carolina added to their lead in the second. After Michael Busch singled, Cody Roberts singled as well. Florida Gulf Coast right fielder Marc Coffer misplayed the ball, allowing Busch to score all the way from first, and Roberts to go to second on the throw home. Miller then brought home Roberts with another single.
In the fifth inning, the Tar Heels increased their lead further. With two outs, Brandon Riley doubled. Tyler Lynn then singled, scoring Riley and moving to second on the throw. Zack Gahagan added another single, scoring Lynn, and chasing FGCU’s starter Garrett Anderson from the game. UNC ended the inning up 5-0.
UNC starting pitcher Tyler Baum’s day got off to an interesting start when he walked two batters in the first inning. However, he got out of the first damage free and settled down after that. In the next four innings, he allowed just two hits and a walk. Baum came out to start the sixth inning, but loaded the bases with a hit by pitch, single, and a walk. That would be it for Baum as Mike Fox went to his bullpen.
Coming in for the starter was Austin Bergner, who inherited a bases loaded jam with just one out. The reliever got a ground out and a fly out, allowing only one run in the process. All things considered, giving up just the one run was a solid result.
After that it was all Carolina. The Tar Heels took their lead back to five runs in seventh, and then picked up four more insurances runs in the eighth. That effectively ended any chance for drama that still could come out of the game. Bergner, Jason Morgan, and Trevor Gay combined to finish off the last three innings and seal a 10-1 win over Florida Gulf Coast.
The Tar Heels still have some work to do to make it to super regionals, but they’re one step closer. They’ll face Davidson later today as they attempt to stave off elimination once again.