Adam Pate was mobbed by his teammates after his game-winning hit Sunday.
Adam Pate was mobbed by his teammates after his game-winning hit Sunday.
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Tar Heels Rally Past Xavier To Win Series
Release: 02/23/2014
CHAPEL HILL --- No. 12 North Carolina rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Xavier, 3-2, in the series finale Sunday afternoon at Boshamer Stadium. Alex Raburn tied the game with a sharp single to left and Adam Pate won it with an infield single in the hole between third and short. Spencer Trayner got his first collegiate win with 1.1 innings of scoreless relief.

For the third game in as many days, the pitchers dominated on both sides. Carolina's Zac Gallen and Xavier's Vinny Nittoli matched each other with six scoreless frames before Gallen ran into trouble in the seventh. Joe Forney led off the inning with an infield single and advanced to second on Landon Lassiter's throwing error. After Derek Hasenbeck singled to put runners on the corners, Gallen struck out Patrick Jones and got Daniel Rizzie to pop out to first on a safety squeeze attempt.

With the lefty Brian Bruening due up, Carolina (3-3) went to its bullpen and Zach Rice. Rice, who had struck out all four batters he'd faced in 2014 entering Sunday, allowed an infield single to Bruening to give Xavier (4-2) the first run of the game.

The Musketeers added an insurance run in the eighth without a hit. Trevor Kelley walked the leadoff man Schoettmer, who advanced to second on a wild pitch. After Kelley got Andre Jernigan to ground out to first, Tate Parrish came on to face left-handed pinch-hitter Bo Slemons. Parrish got Slemons to foul out to right, but it was deep enough to score Schoettmer from third to make it 2-0.

Xavier almost added more in the ninth, but Trayner buckled down to keep it 2-0 and set the stage for the Carolina rally. After an error and a single put runners on the corners with two out, Trayner got Mitch Elliott to ground out to second to end the XU threat.

Wood Myers led off the bottom of the ninth against Xavier closer Daniel Przeniczny and fell behind 1-2 before singling up the middle to give UNC the leadoff runner on for just the second time all day. Przeniczny then hit Lassiter with a first-pitch breaking ball to put the tying run aboard with no one out.

After a Skye Bolt sacrifice put both runners in scoring position, Xavier elected to intentionally walk Michael Russell to get to Parks Jordan. But Przeniczny's 2-1 pitch to Jordan skipped off Rizzie's leg and to the backstop to allow Myers to score, and XU put Jordan on to set up a potential double play.

After Alex Westrick came on to replace Przeniczny, Raburn, who'd entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, lined an 0-2 pitch to left to score Lassiter and tie the game. One pitch later, Pate got his first career hit to win it, as his grounder to the left side was fielded by Andre Jernigan, who had no play.

Gallen was outstanding for the second time in as many starts, as the freshman went 6.2 innings and allowed just an unearned run on five hits and no walks. He also struck out eight before giving way to Rice in the seventh.

Adrian Chacon had two of Carolina's three hits prior to the ninth, and the Tampa, Fla., rookie catcher was one of eight freshmen to appear on the day.

Nitolli was equally impressive on the mound for Xavier. The redshirt senior was perfect through 4.2 innings and left after just 65 pitches having allowed two hits over six. Bruening led the Musketeers at the plate with four hits and an RBI single.

Carolina will be back in action Tuesday, Feb. 25, when the Tar Heels host Appalachian State at 3 p.m. at Boshamer Stadium.

UNC North Carolina Baseball

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