ORLANDO, Fla. — No. 6 North Carolina pounded out 12 hits, including three from Wood Myers and two from Logan Warmoth, and held on for a 9-6 win against No. 4 UCLA Saturday afternoon at UCF’s Jay Bergman Field.
Carolina scored in five consecutive innings to even the series at a game apiece ahead of Sunday morning’s finale. Reilly Hovis worked 2.0 innings in relief of Trent Thornton to get the win, while Zach Rice needed just two pitches to record the final out for his first save.
Thornton and UCLA starter Grant Watson posted matching zeroes through three innings before Carolina (4-1) pushed across the game’s first run in the fourth. Myers led off the frame with a clean double — UNC’s first hit of the game — and Alex Raburn drove him in with a two-out single four batters later.
The clutch hitting continued in the fifth, when four Tar Heels reached with two outs, including Skye Bolt’s RBI single.
Thornton retired 13 of 14 batters at one point and was in complete control before running into trouble in the sixth. UCLA (5-1) sent nine men to the plate in the frame, scoring four times and chasing Thornton after 5.1. Ty Moore gretted Hovis with one of his four hits before Sean Bouchard singled home the go-ahead run to make it 4-3.
But the Tar Heels retook the lead for good in the bottom of the inning off UCLA reliever Griffin Canning (0-1). Canning walked Raburn on four pitches to start the frame, Warmoth singled, and pinch hitter Brian Miller doubled home the tying run ahead of Landon Lassiter’s go-ahead sacrifice fly.
Carolina added three in the seventh on run-scoring hits by Warmoth and Zack Gahagan, and tacked on another in the eighth when Tyler Ramirez scored on a wild pitch.
Those runs would be key, as UCLA scored twice in the eighth and brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth before Rice got Chris Keck to fly out to end it.
J.B. Bukauskas will start for UNC in Sunday’s series finale opposite Bruin junior righty Cody Poteet.