CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - As was expected a pitcher's duel broke out Thursday evening at Boshamer Stadium as No. 1 Virginia's (45-7, 22-6 ACC) Cody Winiarski and North Carolina's (42-12, 18-10 ACC) Patrick Johnson twirled five innings of shutout ball.
Winiarksi would be the first to buckle as the Tar Heels exploded for five runs in the sixth inning to take the lead and Patrick Johnson went on to throw the first complete game shutout by a Tar Heel since Alex White in 2009 as he improved to 10-1 on the year.
Johnson also joined Adam Warren as the most recent Tar Heel to post 10 wins in a season as Warren went 10-2 in his senior year for Carolina.
On the night, Johnson allowed just four hits, did not walk a batter and retired nine Wahoos via the strikeout. The nine strikeouts moves Johnson into fifth place in the Carolina career record books with 280.
The Conover, N.C., native retired the side in order in the second inning and finished out the game retiring the last 15 batters he faced.
Each team garnered a single in the very first inning but key defense helped keep the game scoreless as each team turned in a double play.
Virginia looked to have something going in the fourth when John Barr opened the inning with a single to right center but Johnson notched his fourth pick off of the year as he caught Barr flat-footed off of first base.
The Tar Heels were nearly the first team to get a runner to third base in the fourth when Colin Moran drew a one-out walk and Jesse Wierzbicki followed with a single to left center. Moran made his way to third on the play but as he slid to avoid the tag at third base he slid past the base and in his attempt to get back to the bag was tagged out on the play.
Danny Hultzen opened the fifth with another lead off single for the Cavaliers and Virginia proceeded to play small ball using a ground ball to the right side to move Hultzen to second before another ground ball moved him to third base.
Johnson picked up the big punch out to end the fifth as he got Jared King swinging on a 2-2 pitch to end the threat and get the Tar Heels at the plate.
Carolina turned in a similar effort getting a lead off single and back-to-back ground balls to move Jacob Stallings to third but a routine grounder to first would end the threat.
Chaz Frank opened the five-run sixth inning by drawing a walk and used his speed to get to third base on a single off the bat of Levi Michael. The ACC's RBI leader, Colin Moran, lined a ball at centerfielder Kenny Swab allowing Frank to narrowly score ahead of Swab's throw home.
An errant pickoff attempt by Winiarski of Michael at first base allowed the shortstop to move into scoring position for Jesse Wierzbicki who lined a ball into left field but the ball was hit too sharply to score Michael.
A sacrifice bunt from Ben Bunting moved Wierzbicki into scoring position and Jacob Stallings was intentionally walked to load the bases for Tommy Coyle.
Coyle hit a high chopper that third baseman Steven Proscia was unable to get a glove on allowing Michael and Wierzbicki to score extending the lead to 4-0.
Greg Holt made it 5-0 with a perfectly placed single through the right side to plate Stallings and give Patrick Johnson all the run support he would need.
Following a lead off single by the Wahoos in the fifth inning, Johnson buckled down and retired the next 15 batters en route to his 10th win of the season.
Jacob Stallings would tack on an insurance run in the eighth when he blasted his third home run of the year and first since March 9 over the left center field fence stretching the lead to 6-0.
Jesse Wierzbicki equaled a career-high with three hits on the night, while Levi Michael, Jacob Stallings and Tommy Coyle all tallied two hits for the Tar Heels.
Carolina will look for the series win on Friday but it will face a difficult task as freshman Kent Emanuel will face Virginia ace Danny Hultzen at 7 p.m. in Boshamer Stadium.