South Carolina pitchers issued six walks to North Carolina hitters, with all six batters coming in to score, as UNC defeated USC in Charlotte, 11-3, Tuesday night.
UNC scored six unanswered runs in a span of three innings in the midst of those free passes, turning a two-run deficit into a four-run victory.
After both teams marked in the opening inning, the Gamecocks took their first lead in the Queen City Series on Chris Cullen’s third home run of the year. Matt Williams made the game 3-1 after a run-scoring groundout, and Logan Chapman appeared to be in command through five innings.
Chapman retired the first batter of the sixth, but proceeded to walk the next two batters. Parker Coyne and John Gilreath each walked a batter of their own to halve the lead, and the Tar Heels tied the game after a dropped third strike bounced away from catcher Hunter Taylor to force in a run.
Carmen Mlodzinski threw a scoreless seventh, but walked his first batter to lead off the eighth. Eddy Demurias relieved Mlodzinski and induced a infield grounder which led to a hard slide at second base with UNC’s Michael Busch ending up safe on the play. Demurias loaded the bases with a walk, and surrendered a tie-breaking sacrifice fly to Zack Gahagan. Two more singles produced three runs for the Tar Heels putting the game out of reach.
UNC scored four more in the ninth, with Ashton McGee providing the exclamation point with a two-run homer.
Chapman took a no-decision despite leaving with the lead in his deepest outing as Gamecock, striking out four in 5 and 1/3 innings. LT Tolbert reached base three times, scoring a run, and Jonah Bride added two hits and an RBI for USC offensively.
South Carolina lost for the fourth straight time to North Carolina, the third consecutive defeat in Charlotte. The Gamecocks last beat the Tar Heels, 8-0, in the middle game of the 2013 Chapel Hill Super Regional in the NCAA Tournament.
Gamecocks Head Coach Mark Kingston believed his team had this game in their grasp:
South Carolina (17-12) continues its stretch of eight games away from Founders Park with a three-game weekend set at Kentucky.