CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Deck McGuire outdueled Matt Harvey as No. 3 Georgia Tech edged No. 17 North Carolina 2-1 on a rainy Friday night at Boshamer Stadium. Both pitchers each struck out double-digit batters through seven innings of brilliant work. Georgia Tech took the lead in the seventh and never looked back. The Yellow Jackets improve to 19-2 and 6-1 in the ACC, while Carolina falls to 16-7 and 2-5 in the ACC. 11 of Carolina’s 23 games have now been decided by two runs or less, with three of those resulting in losses in league play.
Matt Harvey (3-1) was spectacular in seven innings of work, allowing just two runs, only one earned, while fanning 11 and walking six. The 11 strikeouts and six walks match a season and career high, respectively. The Mystic, Conn., native suffers the tough luck loss as he strikes out double-digit batters for the fifth time in his career and third this season.
Chris Munnelly was terrific in two shutout innings of relief. The freshman fanned two and did not allow a base runner in the eighth and ninth.
Deck McGuire (3-1) earns the win, allowing just one run while striking out 10 in seven innings. The junior has pitched at least seven innings in each of his six starts this season. McGuire disrupted the Tar Heel batters’ timing allowing just six hits.
Andrew Robinson earned his first save of the season, wriggling out of a bases loaded jam in the ninth. Zach Brewster and Luke Bard also saw time on the mound for the Yellow Jackets.
Mike Cavasinni’s two hit and one RBI performance led Carolina offensively. Jesse Wierzbicki also registered two hits, while Tommy Coyle added one and one run scored. Both Cavasinni and Coyle each extended their hit streaks to five and seven games, respectively. The Tar Heels botched a pair of sacrifice bunts and left 11 runners on base.
Harvey was impressive early striking out five through the first two innings. The junior fanned the side in second showing great command and velocity early.
The Tar Heels darted out to a 1-0 lead after a two-out RBI single off the bat of Cavasinni scored Coyle. Carolina scored one run on three hits and stranded two base runners in the first two frames to give Harvey a one run lead.
The Yellow Jackets earned their first base runner in the third after a walk was issued to Thomas Nichols. Nichols battled in an 11-pitch at-bat, fouling off a slew of pitches before earning the base on balls.
Georgia Tech later loaded the bases after another walk and error with two outs. Harvey wriggled out of the jam striking out Tony Plagman for his seventh strikeout of the night.
Both pitchers continued to throw effectively into the fifth frame. The Yellow Jackets earned their first hit on an infield single when Harvey slipped on a ball back to the pitcher off the bat of Nichols.
Georgia Tech eventually scored on an error from Coyle at second base that allowed Nichols to cross the plate. A sharply hit ground ball off the bat of Derek Dietrich led to the error allowing Nichols to score all the way from second. Harvey allowed one unearned run and struck out nine through five innings as the Yellow Jackets knotted the score at one in the fifth.
A leadoff double in the seventh inning off the bat of Nichols led to one run for Yellow Jackets. A walk, sacrifice bunt, strikeout and intentional walk loaded the bases. A key sacrifice bunt led to Harvey then walking his sixth batter of the night to allow Georgia Tech to take a 2-1 lead after seven frames.
Carolina threatened in the eighth, but relief pitcher Bard escaped the threat with an odd double play. With runners at second and third, pinch-hitter Seth Baldwin ripped a line drive to second base as the Yellow Jackets turned a 4-6-3 double play. The ball, which appeared to hit the ground, was ruled a line out as the Yellow Jacket second baseman then threw to the shortstop at second who then threw to first to double up the runner.
Carolina posed another threat in the ninth, loading the bases with one out. Brian Goodwin ripped a 2-0 pitch from Robinson right to the second baseman, who then doubled up the runner at second to end the game. Georgia Tech escaped two jams in the eighth and ninth as Carolina stranded 11 runners Friday night.
The two teams will resume their three-game set tomorrow at 6 p.m. from Boshamer Stadium.