CHAPEL HILL --- Kent Emanuel scattered nine hits over eight innings and Matt Roberts hit his first career home run as No. 1 North Carolina topped Clemson, 10-3, Saturday night at Boshamer Stadium. Cody Stubbs added four hits for the Tar Heels, who improved to 24-1 on the season and 8-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.
Clemson (16-10, 5-5 ACC) got its only run of the night off Emanuel via a wild pitch in the third. With two runners on and two out, Steve Wilkerson struck out, but the Emanuel delivery got past Roberts to allow Tyler Slaton to score from third to make it 4-1.
But the Tar Heels would add four more in the bottom of the third to build a comfortable cushion. Stubbs started the rally with a one-out single before Brian Holberton singled and Russell was hit by a pitch. After a Mike Zolk sacrifice fly scored Stubbs, Roberts deposited a 2-1 delivery from Daniel Gossett (3-2) over the left field wall for his first career home run and an 8-1 UNC lead.
Carolina added single runs in the fifth and eighth to extend the gap to nine runs before the Tigers pulled two back in the ninth. Trevor Kelley came on with one out in the ninth and retired the final two Clemson batters to close out UNC's 24 win in 25 tries. The 24-1 start to the season is the best in program history over 25 games.
The turning point of the game may have come in the fifth, when Clemson loaded the bases with no one out on a pair of singles and a walk. But Emanuel (5-1) sat down the next three Tiger batters in order, including a pair of strikeouts, to escape the jam. The Woodstock, Ga., junior retired 12 of the final 14 hitters he faced to help keep the game out of reach.
The Tar Heels will go for the series win Sunday at 7 p.m. and the game will be televised on the ACC Regional Sports Network.