UNC grabs game 1 from Coastal Carolina

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE

UNC 9 Coastal Carolina 4

CARY, N.C. (AP) – Alex White threw seven strong innings and Seth Williams homered to lead North Carolina past mistake-prone Coastal Carolina 9-4 on Saturday in Game 1 of the best-of-three Cary Super Regional.

Williams, Kyle Seager and Kyle Shelton drove in two runs apiece for the Tar Heels (50-12), who turned the Chanticleers’ season-high six errors into six unearned runs and moved within one victory of their third straight trip to the College World Series.

White (10-3) was a major reason for that. He struck out six and allowed eight hits while topping out his fastball at 96 mph and hitting the mid-90s from his first inning through his last in his second straight strong performance in the NCAA tournament.

White, a sophomore who was the Atlantic Coast Conference’s pitcher of the year, threw a three-hitter in a 5-1 victory over North Carolina-Wilmington in last weekend’s regional. He exited in the eighth after allowing a run-scoring single to David Sappelt, but before that, he was in control on a sweltering day in which the temperature surpassed 100 degrees by the fourth inning and the heat index reached 106.

Coastal Carolina (50-13) pieced together two hits in the fourth against White before Dock Doyle raced home on his wild pitch to make it a 3-1 game, but White and the Tar Heels didn’t let them get any closer. North Carolina stretched its lead back to a comfortable margin, scoring once in the fifth and twice in the sixth. Shelton had run-scoring hits in both innings, and Williams connected against reliever Joey Haug for his eighth homer of the season and second of the NCAA tournament.

Haug had replaced starter Bobby Gagg in the fifth inning. Gagg (6-3) entered as one of the best control pitchers in Division I tops in the nation in walks per nine innings entering the game. But defense wound up being the Chanticleers’ undoing three of their errors came in the first two innings, leading to three unearned runs.

North Carolina jumped on Coastal Carolina early, taking a 2-0 lead in the first on Seager’s liner off the right-field wall that scored Dustin Ackley and Tim Fedroff.

The Tar Heels then made it 3-0 an inning later when lines of communication for the Chanticleers apparently were crossed first baseman David Anderson wasn’t there to take Gagg’s pickoff throw, and that allowed Tim Federowicz to score from second. In the fifth, Shelton made it 4-1 by following Ackley’s double with one of his own, scoring the only earned run charged to Gagg.

Coastal Carolina made it a five-run game with three runs in the eighth, with Adam Rice greeting reliever Rob Wooten with a two-run single.