UNC Rallies Past ECU, 5-4

UABSPORTS.COM Junior Zach Wright belted his 10th home run of the season in the third inning.
Junior Zach Wright belted his 10th home run of the season in the third inning.

April 27, 2011

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Jesse Wierzbicki's two-RBI single in the top of the ninth with two outs gave No. 14 North Carolina (33-10) a 5-4 victory over No. 29 East Carolina (27-14) Wednesday night at Lewis Field in Clark-LeClair Stadium in front of a season-high crowd of 4,470.

Trailing 4-3 in the ninth, UNC pinch hitter Matt Roberts laced a first pitch offering from Seth Simmons sending the ball down the right field line for a lead off double. Jeff Bouton pinch ran for Roberts and took third on Parks Jordan's bunt single down the third base line before Tommy Coyle loaded the bases with a walk. Simmons got a pair of quick outs retiring Levi Michael and Colin Moran before Wierzbicki sent a 2-1 offering to left field scoring Bouton and Jordan for a 5-4 lead.

In the bottom half of the ninth, Jonathan Holt singled up the middle to start the inning and moved into scoring position on Trent Whitehead's sac bunt before Michael Morin struck out Jack Reinheimer and Zach Wright picking up his third save of the season.

Patrick Johnson (7-1) got the win working two-third's of an inning in the eighth. Starter Chris Munnelly allowed three runs (all unearned) on six hits with a pair of walks and two strikeouts in 4.1 innings. Shane Taylor was touched for a run (earned) in two-third's of an inning and Greg Holt bridged the gap to Johnson working 2.1 scoreless innings of relief with three walks and four strikeouts.

Simmons (5-2) suffered the loss giving up the game-tying and go-ahead runs in the ninth. Joseph Hughes made his first start of the season giving up three runs (one earned) on two hits in 3.2 frames, while Kevin Brandt (2.0 IP, 2 H, BB, 2 Ks) and Brad Mincey (2.1 IP, H, BB) combined for 4.1 innings of scoreless relief.

ECU jumped out to an early 3-0 lead behind Zach Wright's 10th home run of the season in the third stanza. With two outs, Whitehead singled up the middle and moved over to second when Reinheimer reached on an error by Coyle. Wright stepped into the box and deposited a 1-2 offering to straight-away center field for his 27th career round tripper.

UNC knotted the game at three in the top half of the fourth. Michael reached on a one-out walk and moved to second when Wierzbicki was hit by a pitch and trotted home on Chaz Frank's single to right for the Tar Heels first run of the night. Both runners moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch and came around to score on a throwing error by Reinheimer during Jacob Stallings at-bat.

The Pirates regained the lead in the sixth when Chase McDonald scored on a wild pitch for a 4-3 advantage. McDonald, who extended his hit streak to seven games, led off with a double off the left field wall and landed on third after Gosik and Austin Homan drew back-to-back free passes before darting home on Holt's wild pitch.

Both the Pirates and Tar Heels collected eight hits on the night and were led by Clark (2-for-4) and Frank (2-for-3). With Wright's homer in the third, ECU has belted nine home runs in its last five games hitting at least one in four of the last five contests.

ECU will be back in action this Friday, April 29 when they play host to No. 15 Southern Miss in a three-game Conference USA series. Friday's game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. with RHP Mike Wright (4-2, 2.83 ERA) taking the hill against RHP Geoffrey Thomas (8-2, 2.95 ERA).