CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Freshman Trent Thornton fell four outs shy of UNC's first no-hitter since 1978 on Tuesday as he combined with Reilly Hovis and Luis Paula on a one-hitter in a 12-0 win over Gardner-Webb (11-4).
Thornton struck out eight over his 7.2 innings of work to improve to 3-0 on the year and keep the Tar Heels at a perfect 15-0.
The freshman right-hander retired the side in order in the first before issuing a lead-off walk to John Harris to open the second inning.
Back-to-back strikeouts and a fly out to center field ended the threat and started Thornton on a roll against the Runnin' Bulldogs as he sat down 20 consecutive batters after the walk.
Thornton struck out one in the third, two in the fifth and one each in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
The Tar Heel defense backed up Thornton thorughout the contest as they posted their fourth consecutive game without an error.
Third baseman Colin Moran came up with a key play in helping to keep the no-hitter in tact. Moran fielded a sharp ground ball off a short-hop and fired across the diamond to open the sixth inning. Moran would add an impressive back-handed stop and throw for the first out in the ninth as well.
Gardner-Webb's Henry Rundio broke up Thornton's no-hit bid with two outs in the eighth inning when he slapped a single through the right side past a diving Mike Zolk at second base.
Thornton departed the contest to a round of applause from the Boshamer Stadium crowd before fellow freshman Reilly Hovis recorded the final out of the inning on a line drive to shortstop Michael Russell.
Sophomore Luis Paula threw a scoreless ninth to help Carolina record its 15th consecutive win to open the season.
The Tar Heel bats took advantage of six Gardner-Webb errors on the night to plate 12 runs, four of which were earned.
Skye Bolt, Cody Stubbs and Matt Roberts each registered a pair of hits in the win with Bolt plating two runs and Stubbs adding three RBIs of his own.
Stubbs came through with his first career triple in a four-run fifth inning when he sent a ball down the first-base line and into the rigth field corner for a two-run triple.
Carolina's three through five hitters (Moran, Bolt and Stubbs) combined to score six of UNC's 12 runs in the contest.
Up next for the Tar Heels is a visit from High Point on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Junior right-hander Shane Taylor will take the mound for North Carolina.