MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. --- No. 11 North Carolina dropped its first series of 2014 with a 3-1 loss to the College of Charleston Monday afternoon at Patriots Point. Zac Gallen was outstanding in his UNC debut, throwing 6.2 innings and allowing just two runs on seven hits and one walk. But the Gibbsboro, N.J., product was the hard-luck loser as the Tar Heel offense mustered just five hits against five CofC pitchers.
Carolina (1-2) opened the scoring for the third day in a row with a run in the fourth. Landon Lassiter drew a leadoff walk - one of eight free passes for the Tar Heels on the day - before advancing to second on a balk. Skye Bolt then ripped a single to left to score Lassiter to give UNC a 1-0 lead. The Tar Heels looked poised to add more but Parks Jordan was cut down at home trying to score on an Adrian Chacon double to end the inning.
That was all the visitors would get against lefty Eric Bauer, who scattered five hits and three walks over six to get the win. Gallen was even better for much of the day, as the freshman opened his career with four straight shutout innings before running into trouble in the fifth.
With a runner on first and one out, Charleston strung together three straight singles to plate a pair of runs. Nick Pappas and Gunnar Heidt had the RBIs for the Cougars, who would add an insurance run in the eighth.
Carolina's best chance came in the sixth, when singles by Lassiter and Bolt and a Michael Russell walk loaded the bases with one out for Jordan. The senior lined a 1-1 pitch at right fielder Brandon Glazer, who threw to first to double off Russell and end the threat.
The Tar Heels looked poised to strike again in the eighth when Blake Ross and Derrick Smith walked the bases loaded, but Jordan's sharp grounder resulted in a tailor-made 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Michael Massardo led off the ninth with another walk, but Hayden McCutcheon got Joe Dudek to ground into a 3-6-3 twin killing, and the big righty struck out Zach Daly to end it.
Carolina will return to Chapel Hill for the 2014 home opener Friday, Feb. 21, against Xavier. Tickets for all three games are available at GoHeels.com.