Tar Heels Handle Hokies 13-6

CHAPEL HILL, N.C --– Brian Goodwin and Ryan Graepel each posted two hits and four RBI to propel North Carolina over No. 12 Virginia Tech 13-6 Thursday night at Boshamer Stadium. The Tar Heels won their eighth straight game at home as Matt Harvey pitched 7.1 strong innings to improve UNC to 34-20 overall and 12-16 in league play.

Harvey (7-3) struck out seven Hokies on the night, raising his career total to 254. That mark ties him for tenth with Roger Williams on the UNC career strikeout list. After Harvey exited, relievers Bryant Gaines, Zach Bernard and Greg Holt combined to work 1.2 innings of scoreless action while allowing just one hit.

Graepel and Goodwin provided the offense for the Carolina as each belted out three-run home runs. Dillon Hazlett also had a big night at the plate, setting a career-high with four hits and adding two RBI.

The Hokies’ Justin Wright (7-4) suffered the loss, surrendering seven earned runs on six hits and five walks in just 3.1 innings as Virginia Tech fell to 36-17 overall and 16-12 in the ACC.

Graepel provided all three runs in the first with a two-out three run home run over the left field fence. The Tar Heels strung together a pair of base runners before the senior delivered his third home run in the month of May.

Carolina tacked on another run in the second after a RBI groundout off the bat of Levi Michael. A key Mike Cavasinni sacrifice bunt led to the Tar Heels pushing in front 4-0 after two.

The Hokies sliced the Tar Heel lead in half in the third. Consecutive doubles from Buddy Sosnoskie and Steve Domecus manufactured the runs for Virginia Tech.

A Tim Smalling lead off triple followed by a Matt Blow RBI sacrifice fly added another run for the Hokies in the fourth. Virginia Tech trailed by only one run entering the bottom of the fourth, but Carolina responded.

Goodwin mashed a three-run home run in the bottom of the frame to vault UNC in front 7-3. A Hazlett RBI sacrifice fly plated another Tar Heel in the fifth as Carolina led 8-3 after the first five frames.

The Tar Heels took a commanding 13-3 lead scoring five runs in the seventh frame. Goodwin and Graepel each notched RBI doubles to highlight the big inning for Carolina.

Harvey settled to throw three straight scoreless frames, but allowed back-to-back home runs in the eighth. The Hokies manufactured three runs on consecutive home runs from Michael Seaborn and Andrew Rash. Rash provided Virginia Tech’s sixth pitch-hit home run of the year to cut the UNC lead to 13-6.

The consecutive home runs marked the end of the night for Harvey, but the Carolina bullpen ended the temporary rally as Gaines and Bernard each recorded an out to end the eighth. Holt then retired all three batters he faced in a quick ninth inning.

The two teams will resume their three game set tomorrow at 7 p.m.

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