No. 9 North Carolina reached the 40-win mark for the 19th time in school history Friday afternoon as the Tar Heels (40-10, 17-8 ACC) claimed a 3-2 win at No. 15 Georgia Tech (35-16, 18-7 ACC). Senior Patrick Johnson notched his team-leading ninth win of the year and Michael Morin closed the door for his sixth save.
Colin Moran tallied a pair of RBI hits in the contest, including his ninth home run of the year, a solo shot in the fourth inning. The ACC's leading RBI man turned in his 18th multi-RBI game of the season and now has 62 on the season.
The Tar Heels have now won nine straight for the second time this season and have won five consecutive ACC games after dropping the previous five.
Carolina and Georgia Tech combined to trot out 13 different pitchers in the contest as the Yellow Jacket bullpen did not allow a hit but issued six walks over the final three innings. The Tar Heels used six pitchers on the day for the 20th time this year.
The Tar Heels took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when Jacob Stallings opened the inning with a line drive single to center field. A pair of fly outs put two outs on the board with Chaz Frank at the plate.
A wild pitch moved Stallings into scoring position for Frank who hit a ball back up the box and into center field scoring Stallings and giving Carolina a 1-0 lead.
Colin Moran extended the UNC lead to 2-0 in the top of the fourth when he took a Mark Pope offering and drove it to deep right center and out of Russ Chandler Stadium for his ninth home run of the year.
The Tar Heels were threatening again in the top of the fifth when Chaz Frank and Tommy Coyle tallied back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners with one out. Levi Michael hit a sharp ground ball to the first baseman but Frank wandered too far off of third base and was thrown out for the second out of the inning.
Moran lifted a single into right center field to plate Coyle from second and stretch the Carolina lead to 3-0 on its second two-out run of the afternoon.
Starter Patrick Johnson cruised through the first inning before getting into a bit of trouble in the second and third innings.
The Yellow Jackets put runners on first and second in the second with one out but Johnson settled in and recorded two punch outs to end the frame.
Georgia Tech loaded the bases in the bottom of the third and threatened to tie the game up but junior backstop threw behind the runner at first base to Jesse Wierzbicki who applied the tag to end the inning.
After a 1-2-3 inning for Johnson in the fourth and then Stallings showed off his defense once again in the fifth cutting down his record-setting 25th base runner to stall a Georgia Tech rally.
Georgia Tech nearly struck for a pair of runs in the sixth as the first two batters reached on a single and a walk. Jake Davies lined a ball destined for the left center field gap but senior center fielder Ben Bunting raced over and made a diving catch to keep the Yellow Jackets off the scoreboard. A comebacker and another punchout by Johnson retired the Jackets in the sixth.
The Yellow Jackets finally got to Johnson in the seventh snapping a 14.1 scoreless inning streak with a RBI single to cut the Carolina lead to 3-1.
Shane Taylor came on and allowed a RBI double to Jacob Esch trimming the lead to 3-2 with two outs in the seventh. R.C. Orlan entered the game for Carolina and battled Matt Skole before getting the slugger looking for the third and final out of the inning.
The Tar Heels used four different pitchers in the bottom of the eighth, Orlan allowed a lead off single before Greg Holt came on and forced a fly ball to right field for the first out.
Tate Parrish came on to face left-handed slugger Daniel Palka but Palka got the better of the freshman southpaw and singled a ball up the middle to put runners on the corners with only one out.
Closer Michael Morin received the call from the bullpen and on a 2-2 pitch forced a ground ball off the bat of Zane Evans. Colin Moran fielded the roller at third and fired to Tommy Coyle at second and then completed the relay to first for the twin killing.
The Jackets opened the bottom of the ninth with a bunt pop out to first base and a line drive to Ben Bunting in center put two quick outs on the board.
Evan Martin was Morin's final victim but Martin put a scare into the Tar Heels as he turned on a 1-1 pitch and drove it deep to left field forcing Chaz Frank to the wall before the sophomore left fielder made the grab crashing into the outfield wall.
Frank along with Coyle, Moran and Stallings all tallied two hits on the afternoon as Carolina slugged out nine hits but stranded 13 in the process.
Moran, Coyle and Frank all provided RBI hits for the Tar Heels.
Carolina will look to claim its sixth ACC series of the year on Saturday when Georgia native Kent Emanuel takes the mound against fellow southpaw Jed Bradley. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.