LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The North Carolina baseball team waited for the rain to clear before battling Boston College on Thursday, but once it did the Tar Heels showed no signs of rust in their opening gmae of the ACC Tournament.
After a five-day break, UNC came out swinging to earn a 10-0 mercy-rule win over the Eagles, setting up a win-or-go-home matchup on Friday night against rival N.C. State.
“Our guys obviously, like everybody, have been cooped up in the hotel, so excited and anxious to play,” UNC coach Mike Fox said. “Got a good start from Tyler Baum, and anytime these two guys (Brian Miller and Logan Warmoth) are getting on us for us like they did early, we’ve got a good start offensively.”
Logan Warmoth finished with a game-high four hits for second-seeded UNC (45-11) and five pitchers held Boston College to a pair of hits to help the Tar Heels earn the victory in seven innings.
Brian Miller finished with three of UNC’s 14 hits and Ashton McGee began the offensive burst with a two-run triple in the first inning. McGee, Kyle Datres and Zack Gahagan each logged a pair of RBIs for the Tar Heels, who used a three-run first inning and four-run fourth inning to blow the game open.
“We were able to put up some runs against them up there, so at least I thought it might be a little bit closer,” Miller said. “But yeah, I mean, you want to get a lead, especially for your pitchers and kind of take some of the pressure off.”
Tyler Baum pitched for three innings and picked up his sixth win of the season, allowing a pair of hits in the first inning before combining with four relievers to hold the Eagles hitless through the final six innings.
Now the Tar Heels, winners of 17 of their last 19 games, turn their attention to N.C. State (34-22), which has won 14 of its last 16 games. The winner of Friday’s game will face Miami or Wake Forest in Saturday’s semfinal round.
“The stars always align it seems for us to meet in the ACC tournament, so it’ll be fun,” Fox said. “I know the players really enjoy these kind of games, the rivalry, and no matter where it is, it’ll be fun. They’re playing well, and we’ll have to play equally as well to have a chance.”
Wake Forest rallies to beat Georgia Tech
The Wake Forest baseball team rallied for four runs in the ninth inning to earn a 5-4 comeback win over Georgia Tech on Thursday.
Gavin Sheets keyed the ninth-inning rally with a two-run homer for the third-seeded Demon Deacons (39-17) and Keegan Maronpot followed with an RBI triple, scoring on an error for the go-ahead run.
Wake Forest will advance to the semifinal round with a win over seventh-seeded Miami (30-26) on Friday.
The Demon Deacons finished with just six hits, but gained some momentum after Jake Mueller’s two-out RBI double in the sixth inning. The hit broke up Georgia Tech pitcher Xzavion Curry’s no-hit bid.
Duke advances to semifinals
Chris Proctor singled in two runs in a three-run sixth inning that lifted Duke past Virginia 4-3 on Thursday into Saturday’s semifinal round.
Max Miller also had an RBI single to help the ninth-seeded Blue Devils (30-27) advance to the semifinal round. They will face the Louisville-Florida State winner Saturday.
Duke loaded the bases trailing 2-1 with one out in the sixth when Miller greeted reliever Alec Bettinger with his tying single. Proctor singled two batters later to make it 4-2.
Robbie Coman and Cameron Simmons had run-scoring hits to put the fourth-seeded Cavaliers (44-13) up 2-1 in the fourth. Virginia pulled within one run in the seventh on Andy Weber’s RBI groundout off Ryan Day.
Day allowed three runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings of relief for the win.
In the nightcap, top-seeded Louisville earned a 10-3 victory over Notre Dame.
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley. The Associated Press contributed to this report.