CHAPEL HILL – No. 6 North Carolina dropped its second straight game on Wednesday afternoon, a 5-2 loss to visiting St. John’s. The Tar Heels out hit St. John’s, 10-8, but went just 2-19 with runners on base.
The Red Storm started the scoring in the fourth inning following back-to-back singles to start the frame. With one out and runners at second and third, Ike Freeman couldn’t handle a tough hop at short from the bat of Josh Shaw. Jamie Galazin scored from third, and a sacrifice fly from Anthony Brocato advanced the St. John’s lead to 2-0.
The Tar Heels responded with a rally of their own in the bottom half of the fourth. With runners on first and second, pinch-hitter Dallas Tessar laid down a sacrifice bunt to put two in scoring position for Dylan Enwiller. The junior transfer flared a ball into left field, bringing home Ashton McGee for the first North Carolina run. Catcher Robert Boselli III couldn’t corral the errant throw from left field on the play, allowing Cody Roberts to cross the plate and tie the game at two.
In the top of the seventh, St. John’s broke the stalemate with a solo home run from Mike Antico. The senior led off the inning with a fly ball down the line off of Cooper Criswell that appeared to go over the top of the right field foul pole. The umpires conferred but upheld the initial call on the field, giving the Red Storm a 3-2 lead. The visitors would spark a rally later in the inning and tack on two more runs courtesy of singles by John Valente and Boselli. Heading into the stretch, St. John’s held a 5-2 lead.
North Carolina had baserunners on in both the eighth and ninth innings – getting the tying run to the plate in both innings – but couldn’t capitalize against the back end of the Red Storm bullpen.
The Wednesday afternoon loss marks the first time since 1962 that the Tar Heels have dropped their first two home games of the season.
The team will be back in action on Friday at 5 p.m. in Greenville as a part of a three-game set against East Carolina. Saturday’s game will be played at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, a 6 p.m. first pitch followed by a Sunday 1 p.m. start back at Boshamer Stadium.