ACC Tournament: Tar Heels trample #Clemson, 9-2 (AUDIO)

Bryar Hawkins drove in Clemson’s first run with a sacrifice fly, Tuesday (ACC Sports)

Clemson couldn’t get anything going its way at the plate or on the mound in a 9-2 loss to North Carolina at the ACC tournament in Charlotte, Tuesday. The 12th-seeded Tigers entered the tournament needing to win both games on its schedule to advance to Saturday’s semifinal. Clemson still has a game left in Charlotte, but with Tuesday’s loss, the Tigers have no opportunity to play beyond Thursday’s matchup with top-seeded Virginia Tech.

North Carolina dominated the early going, getting to Mack Anglin (6-6, 4.82) for seven runs (five earned) in the first four innings. Clemson’s defense also let it down when left fielder Tyler Corbitt misplayed a ball in the second inning, leading to a pair of Tar Heels runs. Anglin then made a mistake of his own, leaving a fastball up to Mikey Midej in the third inning. Midej made the Tigers pay, depositing the offering over the right field wall, giving UNC a 4-1 lead.

Once North Carolina had Clemson wounded, they pressed the advantage, pouncing on Anglin for four more runs in the fourth inning. Anglin yielded to Jay Dill for the fifth with the Tigers down 7-1. Monte Lee employed five relievers in the hopes of having fresh arms for Thursday’s finale.

Offensively, Clemson found itself flailing against Tar Heels ace Max Carlson. Carlson gave up just one run over six complete and won his duels against ACC Player of the Year Max Wagner. Wagner had a difficult night, going 0 for 4 with four strikeouts.

Coming off a season-ending sweep of Boston College and an RPI hovering near the top 25, Clemson was presumably in position to make the NCAA Tournament with a good showing in Charlotte. It’s unknown how much damage Tuesday’s loss does to the Tigers chances, but they have one final opportunity to impress the committee before the bracket is set. Although Clemson can’t advance in Charlotte, due to the ACC Tournament’s pool format, the Tigers have a scheduled game against Virginia Tech at 7 p.m., Thursday. With the Hokies boasting a top-5 RPI, Clemson can bolster its resume with a victory.

Box Score

North Carolina’s Angel Zarate (4 for 4) sparked the Tar Heels assault, scoring four runs and driving in another (ACC Sports)

Monte Lee and Blake Wright postgame press conference

Benjamin Blackwell and the Tigers face a tall task against nationally ranked Virginia Tech, Thursday (ACC Sports)

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