No. 4 North Carolina held Elon to just four hits, but the Tar Heels managed only six of their own and left 11 runners on base in a 2-0 loss to the Phoenix Tuesday at Cary’s USA Baseball National Training Complex. Carolina (25-7) was shut out for the first time in over a year by three Elon (26-7) pitchers.
Phoenix left-hander Cory Harrilchak (3-2) kept the Tar Heels in check with just five hits allowed over seven shutout innings. He struck out three and walked two before righty Jared Kernodle worked a scoreless eighth. Closer Thomas Girdwood set down all three batters he faced in the ninth to earn his eighth save.
UNC freshman right-hander Patrick Johnson (3-1) allowed only two hits and matched career highs with seven strikeouts and three walks over five innings. After allowing his lone run in the second, Johnson held the Phoenix to just one hit over the final three frames and retired the final nine batters he faced.
Carolina pitching continued to pile up the strikeouts, as Johnson and relievers Brian Moran and Rob Wooten combined to fan 11 batters for the Tar Heels’ sixth straight game with double-digit strikeouts.
Tim Federowicz had two hits on the night to lead Carolina, which was shut out for the first time since a 6-0 loss to Wake Forest last April 1. Kyle Seager saw the fourth-longest hitting streak in school history snapped at 27 games, while Chad Flack saw a 14-game streak ended.
The Tar Heels were without leading hitter Tim Fedroff, who missed the game due to illness.
Elon grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second when shortstop Neal Pritchard drew a leadoff walk and scored from second on a double to right center from catcher Dallas Tarleton. Pritchard also accounted for the second Phoenix run with a bases-loaded walk off Wooten in the eighth that scored second baseman Donny Jobe, who started the rally with a one-out single off Moran.
UNC threatened in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, putting two runners on in each frame but could not find the scoring column. Carolina got back-to-back singles in the fourth and fifth, and Elon committed consecutive infield errors in the sixth, but the Tar Heels could not come up with a key base hit.
Seth Williams led off the eighth with a double, but the Elon bullpen set down the next six batters to preserve the shutout.
The Tar Heels close an 11-game home stand Wednesday against North Carolina A&T at 6 p.m. A webcast of the game will be available live and on-demand through ACC Select.