CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Bryant Gaines (1-0) earned his first win of the season to lead No. 17 North Carolina over Princeton 12-5 Wednesday. Seven different Tar Heels had at least one hit to help Carolina improve to 14-4 overall this season. The Tigers were plagued by four errors defensively as Princeton falls to 1-8 on the young season.
Parker Thomas pitched 3.1 innings in his first career start. The Winston-Salem, N.C., native allowed four runs on four hits while striking out three Wednesday. Gaines, who is less than a year removed from “Tommy John” surgery, earned his first win since March 31, 2009. Gaines tossed one inning allowing just one run on three hits.
Zach Bernard, Cody Stiles and R.C. Orlan were all masterful in relief, hurling 4.2 shutout innings. All three relievers combined to allow just one hit en route to fanning five Tiger batters.
Princeton’s Kevin Link (0-1) suffers the loss after allowing nine runs, only four earned, on seven hits in 3.1 innings pitched. Ross Staine allowed three runs on four hits in 2.2 innings of work.
Offensively Carolina was paced by two hits apiece from Tommy Coyle, Levi Michael, Dillon Hazlett and Seth Baldwin. Hazlett was the only Tar Heel to post multi-RBI, knocking in four runs in the win.
Brian Goodwin and Ryan Graepel each saw their career-best hit streaks come to an end abruptly. Goodwin has still reached base nine straight times and recorded one RBI Wednesday. Graepel also walked four times in the win.
Carolina scored three runs in the bottom of the first on two hits. A two-run error by the Tigers’ second baseman led to a pair of runs and one RBI for Goodwin. Chaz Frank earned a RBI fielder’s choice to push the lead to 3-0.
The Tigers scored one in the top of the second after a pair of walks issued by Thomas. A RBI sacrifice fly to left field off the bat of Alex Fink plated Princeton’s first run of the game. Thomas ended the threat with a strikeout.
The Tar Heels scored three more runs in the bottom of the third, courtesy of two Princeton errors. Hazlett earned a RBI sacrifice fly and Baldwin a RBI single to highlight the frame.
Princeton answered back in the top of the fourth scoring three runs of their own. A two-run home run off the bat of John Mishu ended Thomas’ day on the mound. A Tom Boggiano RBI double scored another Tiger run the in the fourth frame.
A Michael single followed by an RBI triple off the bat of Wierzbicki scored another Tar Heel run in the bottom of the inning. Knief and Hazlett each knocked in another run as Carolina scored three more in the bottom of the fourth to hold a 9-4 lead.
The Tigers tacked on one more run in the fifth, to slice the Tar Heel lead to 9-5. Carolina answered scoring three more runs in the bottom of the sixth. A Hazlett double scored two Tar Heels and a RBI single from Ben Bunting manufactured another as Carolina took a 12-5 lead after six.
Stiles and Orlan were extremely effective down the stretch as the Tar Heels took the contest by a margin of seven runs.
Carolina will host Florida State this weekend beginning Friday night at 7 p.m. at Boshamer Stadium.