CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Junior Matt Harvey struck out nine batters in just 6.1 innings as No.11 North Carolina defeated Maine 11-1 Friday at Boshamer Stadium. The Tar Heels improve to 5-0, while Maine falls to 0-4 on the season. Nine different Tar Heels hit safely in the game as the Heels banged out 11 runs on 10 hits.
Harvey (1-0) registered his first victory of the year and 15th of his career. The Mystic, Conn., native ended his day allowing one run on six hits, walking one and striking out nine in 6.1 innings. It was the sixth game of the junior’s career with eight or more strikeouts.
Zach Bernard, Cody Stiles and Parker Thomas all hurled in relief rendering zero runs on two hits. Stiles and Thomas each pitched in their first collegiate game.
Junior Matt Jebb (0-2) suffered the loss Friday allowing four runs on six hits in four innings pitched. The Black Bears used two pitchers in relief – Keith Bilodeau and Justin Latta. Three hit batsman and seven walks to help account for the Tar Heels 11 runs plagued the Maine hurlers.
A 1-for-3 and four RBI performance from Dillon Hazlett led the Tar Heels offensively. Ben Bunting (2-for-4) was the lone Tar Heel with a multi-hit game. Senior Mike Cavasinni (1-for-4) extended his hit streak, which dates back to last season, to a career best 11 games in the victory. The Diamond Heels swiped four bases and were caught stealing twice, improving their season clip to 14-16 on stolen base attempts.
The Tar Heels got off to a fast start in the first inning. Harvey retired the first two Black Bear hitters on strikes and then quickly ending the inning with a groundout.
At the plate Bunting reached on a hit-by-pitch, then stole second base. A groundout to second base from Tommy Coyle moved Bunting to third, then a RBI single off the bat of Levi Michael to right field scored Bunting. The Diamond Heels jumped in front 1-0 after the first inning.
Harvey continued to pound the strike zone, recording another pair of strikeouts in the top of the second. The junior allowed one hit after two frames looking sharp early.
The Tar Heels tacked on another run in the bottom of the second. A base hit through the left side from Cavasinni followed a walk issued to Jacob Stallings. A RBI single from Bunting then scored Cavasinni. Coyle ended the frame with a fly out to left field.
A lead off walk in the top of the third to Michael Fransoso followed by a base hit from Tony Patane gave the Black Bears runners on first and second with no outs. A sacrifice bunt from leadoff man George Tager advanced the runners to second and third. The Black Bears then plated their first run on a RBI groundout from Tyler Patzalek. The Patzalek groundout did not go past the pitchers mound, but sliced the Tar Heels lead to 2-1.
Harvey adjusted after rendering one run in the bottom of the third, to strikeout the side in the fourth. The Mystic, Conn., product fanned eight through the first four innings.
A two-RBI home run off the bat of Hazlett scored two more runs for Carolina in the bottom of the fourth. Hazlett followed a lead off walk to Ryan Graepel with a towering shot off the scoreboard in left field. The home run, Hazlett’s first ever as a Tar Heel, extended the lead to 4-1 after four innings.
Maine’s Keith Bilodeau was on to pitch in the fifth, relieving starter Matt Jebb. Bilodeau quickly found himself in trouble loading the bases after a single, a walk and blown coverage on a bunt. Bilodeau did not help the cause issuing a RBI base-on-balls to Brian Goodwin. A Graepel sacrifice fly scored Michael and then a RBI fielder’s choice from Hazlett scored Wierzbicki. After an eventful fifth inning, the Tar Heels led the Black Bears 7-1.
Harvey dazzled into the sixth inning, retiring the Black Bears batters in order – two fly outs and a strikeout. Left-hander Zach Bernard relieved Harvey in the seventh inning. Bernard quickly disposed of the Black Bears to end the seventh.
Two walks and a hit batter to start the seventh inning ended Bilodeau’s day. Black Bear reliever Justin Latta entered the game with the bases loaded. Latta retired pinch-hitter Seth Baldwin on strikes, but an RBI hit-by-pitch off of the body of Graepel plated another Tar Heel run. Another RBI walk to Hazlett scored a run; then a two-RBI pinch-hit single off the bat of Chaz Frank scored two more Tar Heels. The single was Frank’s first of his collegiate career. Latta finally ended the tumultuous inning as the Heels scored four runs on just one hit.
Cody Stiles entered the game to pitch in the eighth and Parker Thomas in the ninth – each in their first collegiate appearance. Both pitchers allowed one hit and registered their first career strikeout.
North Carolina and Maine will continue their three-game Saturday at 2 p.m. The series finale is set for Sunday at 3 p.m.