GREENSBORO, N.C. - The North Carolina pitching staff threw its eighth shutout of the year and senior Jacob Stallings continued his hot streak at the plate as the No. 5 Tar Heels opened the ACC Tournament with a 6-0 win over Wake Forest (32-23) Wednesday night at Greensboro's NewBridge Bank Park. The win was Carolina's (43-13) 14th straight which is tied for the longest streak in the nation.
Sophomore right-hander Shane Taylor took the bump for the Tar Heels in the ACC Tournament opener Wednesday night and picked up where he left off from his scoreless performance against Duke on May 13.
Taylor would allow just three hits over 4 1/3 innings of work. The Mullica Hill, N.J., native struck out a pair and did not allow a run in his third start of the year.
Wake Forest nearly took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when Pat Blair drew a lead off walk to open the inning and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt.
Mac Williamson dropped a single into center field and Blair attempted to score from second on centerfielder Chaz Frank. The junior came up throwing after fielding Williamson's single on a hop and cut down Blari with a throw on a line to catcher Jacob Stallings.
Stallings faked out Blair and slapped a tag on him for the second out of the inning to keep the Demon Deacons off the scoreboard. Taylor would force a ground out to second base to end the threat and keep the game scoreless.
The Tar Heel bats came to life after the defensive plays and finally got to Wake Forest starter Tim Cooney who had retired six of the first seven batters he faced.
Brian Holberton opened the inning with a double into the right center field gap and moved to third when Parks Jordan slapped a single through the right side.
Chaz Frank hit a chopper to the first baseman that Carlos Lopez elected to come home on but Holberton retreated to third to load the bases for Michael Russell. The freshman shortstop hit a chopper to the third baseman who stepped on the bag and fired to first but the ball bounced in the dirt allowing Russell to reach safely and score UNC's first run.
Cooney picked up a timely strike out of Colin Moran but went 1-0 against Jacob Stallings before the senior backstop rifled a ball into the left field corner to plate two more runs.
Stallings came around to score on the very next play when Cody Stubbs sent a RBI single into right center to provide Taylor with a 4-0 lead to work with after three frames.
Carolina tacked on a run in the fourth inning when Chaz Frank singled into right center to score Shell McCain who opened the inning with a single of his own.
Taylor allowed a one-out single in the fifth as he made way for left-hander Tate Parrish to face Conor Keniry. Parrish needed just three pitches to strike out Keniry before departing for right-hander Luis Paula.
The freshman Paula forced a ground out to first to end the fifth. Paula walked the lead off man in the sixth before R.C. Orlan came on and shut the Demon Deacons down for good.
Orlan went 3 2/3 innings Wednesday night to match his season-long outing set against NC State earlier in the year. The junior southpaw walked a batter in the sixth before eight straight batters, including five via the strikeout.
Carolina added another insurance run in the eighth when Cody Stubbs reached on a one-out double and moved to third on an infield single by Tommy Coyle. A well-executed double steal saw Coyle swipe second base and catcher Brett Armour's throw sail into center field allowing Stubbs to score from third and bump UNC's lead to 6-0.
Orlan recorded a pair of outs in the ninth and freshman Chris O'Brien retired the only batter he faced to give Carolina the 6-0 win.
Sophomore Tate Parrish was credited with the win as he struck out the only batter he faced to secure his first career win.
For the night the Tar Heel bullpen allowed just one hit over 4 1/3 innings of work and eight batters. Stallings and Stubbs both recorded a pair of hits on the night, while Stallings led the Tar Heels with two RBIs.
Carolina will return to action Thursday at 3 p.m. when it takes on Miami.
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