CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Fourth ranked North Carolina used a six-run fourth inning and a seven-run seventh inning to defeat eighth ranked South Carolina 20-5 on Tuesday evening at BB&T Ballpark. The Tar Heels are now 27-6 with the Gamecocks now 21-11 on the year.
Right-hander Jason Morgan earned the win in relief for North Carolina and is now 3-0 on the year. He allowed two runs on six hits in four innings of relief. Freshman right-hander Cody Morris suffered his first career loss for the Gamecocks and is now 2-1 on the year. He allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits in 0.2 innings.
South Carolina did finish with 13 hits with North Carolina finishing with 14 in the contest. TJ Hopkins led Carolina at the plate going 3-for-4 with Carlos Cortes, Jacob Olson and LT Tolbert with two hits apiece as well.
North Carolina broke ahead 4-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Brian Miller reached base on a fielding error by Gamecock second baseman LT Tolbert, his first error of the season. Logan Warmoth and Ashton McGee followed with singles to load the bases. Kyle Datres would come up with the big hit of the inning for the Tar Heels as he knocked a triple to left-center to clear the bases. Brandon Riley’s sacrifice fly to left field gave the Tar Heels a four-run lead.
Tolbert would answer for the Gamecocks in the top of the second with a two-run homer to cut the deficit in half. Jacob Olson would open the second inning with an infield single. That set the stage for Tolbert, who launched his third home run of the season over the right field wall. Tolbert’s three home runs this year have come in the last four games for the Gamecocks.
North Carolina would get a pair back in bottom of the second inning to extend their lead back to four. With runners on second and third and one out, Warmoth lifted a double to left field to score both runners and give UNC the 6-2 advantage.
Olson’s second hit of the night would drive in a run in the third inning to bring the Gamecocks within three runs in the top of the third inning. Carlos Cortes led off with a double and scored on Olson’s two-out RBI single to center.
A six-run fourth inning would give the Tar Heels a nine-run lead. Miller, Datres, Riley and Gahagan each drove in a run with Lynn driving in a pair as well for UNC. The Gamecocks would get a run back in the fifth inning on a two-out RBI single from Tolbert.
North Carolina added a run in the sixth and scored seven more in the seventh inning. Jonah Bride would drive in Carolina’s final run in the eighth inning with a RBI double.
North Carolina batted around in the fourth inning and scored six runs to extend their lead to nine runs.
North Carolina went 8-for-18 at the plate with runners in scoring position and took advantage of 10 Carolina walks with seven coming in the seven-run seventh inning.
Sophomore infielder LT Tolbert tied his career-high with three RBI. He has put together four 3 RBI games in the last five contest for the Gamecocks.
Sophomore outfielder Jacob Olson has reached base in 21 straight games.
Sophomore catcher Chris Cullen extended his hitting streak to nine games.
QUOTABLE FROM HEAD COACH CHAD HOLBROOK
“Obviously, the story of the game was their offense was very, very impressive and our lack of ability to keep them off the bases and pitch to them was the difference in the game. I thought we had some pretty good at-bats against their guys. We had 13 hits or so. Charged some balls early that were caught in the first inning. I thought we had some good approaches and were excited and ready to play. The name of the game is pitching, pitching and defense, and we fell short in the pitching department tonight. Disappointing obviously, it was good to see Tyler (Johnson) get back out there and throw the way we know he can throw. If anything came good out of that game, other than a few at-bats that we had that were pretty good, it was seeing him pitch again. That bodes well for him being ready and available for the weekend, as long as he doesn’t feel sore tomorrow or the next day. He will go back into his normal closer’s role. Hopefully, that will eliminate some of those late-game losses we have had in conference play and some of the games that we had earlier. We will get on the bus and regroup. Practice hard tomorrow, practice hard Thursday and get ready for a hot Mississippi State team.”
South Carolina returns home to host Mississippi State in a three-game SEC series.