Top-ranked Tar Heels rally for win over No. 26 Chants

In his first career start, Coastal Carolina sophomore Austin Kerr took a no hitter and 1-0 lead one out into the sixth inning at consensus #1 North Carolina before allowing a walk, triple and sacrifice fly and trail 2-1.

The top-ranked Tar Heels would score three runs off CCU’s bullpen in the seventh and hand #26 Coastal Carolina a 5-1 loss Tuesday night.

Despite out-hitting the Tar Heels, 8-4, Coastal Carolina has its nine-game winning streak snapped to drop to 24-13, while North Carolina won its 10th straight and improve to 35-2. In fact, Coastal got a hit in seven of the nine innings, while UNC only got hits in the decisive seventh and eighth innings. Ted Blackman led the way, going 4-for-5 for the Chanticleers.

Kerr, used mostly a specialist to face left-handed batters, pitched a career-high six innings, marking just the ninth time in 48 career appearance he had pitched more than one inning. Kerr allowed just the one hit and two runs with three walks and three strikeouts. He used two double plays to have 1-2-3 innings in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings. He would have had a 1-2-3 inning the first but an error with two outs forced him to face four batters in the frame. Kerr (2-1) would be saddled with the loss.

Coastal Carolina got a hit in each of the first three innings, but could not convert. However, Jacob May broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning as he hit the second pitch of the inning over the right field wall for his fourth round-tripper of the season.

Coastal threatened in the top of the sixth. Blackman had a leadoff single, as CCU had a hit in five of the first six innings. After an out, Jacob May walked. Will Remillard just missed an RBI opportunity with a line drive that went just foul. Chris Munnelly would go on to get a strikeout before hitting Alex Buccilli to load the bases. Munnelly would escape with a second strikeout to keep the score 1-0.

North Carolina made the Chants pay for the missed opportunity. With one out in the sixth, Parks Jordan drew a walk. Chaz Frank followed with an RBI triple, which also broke up the no hitter for Kerr. The Tar Heels added a run when Colin Moran hit a sacrifice fly to left-center field.

Kerr left after six complete and North Carolina exploded for three runs off the CCU bullpen. Brady Arenson started the seventh allowing a home run from Cody Stubbs then walking Michael Russell and allowing a single from Mike Zolk. Patrick Corbett entered and Matt Roberts laid down a safety squeeze to plate Russell. Zolk then scored on Jordan’s single to left. Those two runs marked just the second and third of 23 inherited runners Corbett had allowed to score in his two-year career.

Coastal loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth thanks to a hit by Colin Hering, walk by Tyler Chadwick and Blackman single, but Jake Kane was edged at first on a slow roller to end the game.

Munnelly (4-0) got the winning, pitching 6.2 innings and allowing five hits and one run. Trent Thornton earned save number two, allowing Blackman’s hit and getting Kane’s ground out.

Coastal Carolina returns home Friday for a key Big South series with Radford. First pitch Friday is set for 6 pm and the game will be on ESPN3.

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