CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - No. 3 North Carolina drew a season-high 12 walks in an 11-3 win over Elon at Boshamer Stadium Wednesday as the Tar Heels won their third straight game in a seven inning rain-shortened contest. Tommy Coyle and Shell McCain each drove in three runs for the Tar Heels who are 23-6 on the year, while Elon falls to 18-12.
Elon jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the very first inning when the reigning NCBWA National Hitter of the Week, Alex Swim of Elon, doubled into the right center field gap before coming around to score on a Ryan Kinsella single.
Carolina answered in the bottom half thanks to the first three batters of the inning all reaching via walk. The Tar Heel knotted things up at 1-1 when Tom Zengel hit into a fielder's choice scoring Chaz Frank from third.
Starter Cody Penny bounced back with a 1-2-3 inning in the second and was given a lead in the bottom half when Tommy Coyle poked a ball through the left side for a RBI single.
Penny would give up the tying run in the third on a squeeze play before left-hander R.C. Orlan came on with the go-ahead run at second base and recorded a ground out and a strike out to get out of trouble.
For the second time in the first three innings the Tar Heels loaded the bases in the bottom half of the third.
With two outs in the inning, Michael Russell dropped down a drag bunt and moved to second on a throwing error. A Parks Jordan walk preceded a drive from Shell McCain that sailed over the right fielder's head for a two-run double.
After a Chaz Frank hit by pitch, Tommy Coyle sent one into the right field corner and raced around for his team-leading fifth triple of the season to plate two more runs in a four-run inning for the Tar Heels.
Carolina tacked on four more in the fourth as Mike Zolk got things going with two outs in by drawing a walk and moving to third after a hit by pitch and a walk. Shell McCain walked as well to force in a run and a wild pitch made it a 10-2 Tar Heel lead before a two-run error would cap off another four-run inning for the Tar Heels.
Elon pulled one back with a sacrifice fly in the seventh before Carolina answered with its second triple of the night, this time from Tom Zengel who drove in Cody Stubbs to provide the final 11-3 margin.
With two outs in the top of the eighth inning the rain started pouring down signaling an end to the contest.
R.C. Orlan picked up the win, his fifth of the year, as Carolina used six different pitchers in the contest.
Tommy Coyle and Michael Russell each tallied two hits on the night, while the 7-8-9 hitters (Russell, Parks Jordan, Shell McCain) combined to score 7 runs in the triumph.
Carolina set a new season high with 12 walks in the contest and drew the most walks by a Tar Heel squad since the 2011 team drew 13 walks against Elon a year ago.
Up next for the Tar Heels is a trip to No. 9 Miami for a key ACC series. Carolina currently leads the Hurricanes by a game in the ACC Coastal division standings.
First pitch Friday night is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be televised on Comcast Sports South along with ESPN3.
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