CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The trio of Reilly Hovis, Chris McCue and Chris Munnelly combined on the second one-hitter of the year Tuesday night as No. 2 North Carolina downed Appalachian State, 2-0.
Hovis surrendered a two-out single in the first inning before settling in and tossing five scoreless frames in his fourth start of the year. The freshman right-hander struck out three as he improved to 2-0.
The Carolina offense pushed across the go-ahead run in the third inning when Mike Zolk pulled a ball inside the bag at first for a leadoff single and moved to third on a fielding error by the Mountaineers. A hit by pitch would load the bases for Landon Lassiter who lifted a deep fly ball to center field that scored Zolk from third and gave UNC a 1-0 lead.
Hovis responded with a 1-2-3 inning in the third before walking a pair in the fourth inning. A perfectly turned double play by second baseman Mike Zolk and shortstop Michael Russell kept the Tar Heels in front before Hovis retired the side in order again in the fifth.
A leadoff walk to open the sixth inning would end the day for Hovis as reliever Chris McCue came on to pitch. McCue would move the tying run into scoring position by walking the leadoff man before striking out the next three batters to keep the Tar Heels in front.
The Tar Heels would tack on an insurance run in the bottom half of the sixth as Cody Stubbs walked to open the frame before stealing his fourth base of the year. Michael Russell sacrificed Stubbs to third before Brian Holberton hit a chopper over the mound allowing Stubbs to score.
McCue would throw a 1-2-3 seventh inning before another scoreless frame in the eighth to keep the Tar Heels in front, 2-0. McCue finished the night with three hitless innings and matched a career high with five strikeouts.
Senior Chris Munnelly earned his first save of the year after striking out a pair in the ninth to cap off the victory.
The one-hitter was the second of the year for the Tar Heels after holding Gardner-Webb to one hit on March 12. The shutout was the ninth of the year for the nation's fifth-lowest ERA pitching staff.
Mike Zolk tallied a pair of hits on a night where the Tar Heel offense was limited to four hits.
The Tar Heels return to action Thursday when they open a three-game ACC series against No. 7 Virginia at 6 p.m.