CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. --- Trent Thornton tossed a three-hit shutout and No. 30 North Carolina topped Boston College 7-0 in the series opener Friday afternoon at Commander Shea Field. Tom Zengel drove in five runs to lead an 11-hit effort for the Tar Heels, who snapped a five-game Atlantic Coast Conference losing streak.
Carolina (17-12, 6-7 ACC) jumped on BC starter John Gorman early and never looked back. After a one-out walk by Wood Myers in the top of the first, Skye Bolt doubled to right to put two in scoring position. Zengel then jumped on the first pitch he saw and drove it to the gap in right center to score a pair.
Tyler Ramirez used his speed to manufacture a run in the second. The freshman right fielder reached on an infield single with two outs before stealing his fifth base of the year. He then scored on Michael Russell's RBI hit to center to make it 3-0.
Zengel broke it open in the fifth with his team-leading fourth home run of the year. After Gorman (2-5) walked Myers and Bolt with one away, Boston College called on lefty Nick Poore. Zengel worked the count full before hooking a line drive just inside the foul pole in right to double the Tar Heel lead to 6-0. For the senior DH, it pushed his RBI total to five for the game and 20 for the season and gave Thornton plenty of cushion for the late innings.
Boston College (9-19, 1-12 ACC) got its first hits of the game in the fourth when Chris Shaw and Joe Cronin reached on back-to-back one-out singles. But Thornton got a grounder for out No. 2 and struck out Logan Hoggarth swinging with runners on the corners to end the threat.
After Myers' RBI single in the sixth made it 7-0, the only remaining drama centered around Thornton's pursuit of his first career shutout. The sophomore from Charlotte, N.C., needed just 15 pitches to cruise through the seventh and eighth before running into trouble in the ninth. A single and a four-pitch walk put two on with nobody out and gave BC its best scoring opportunity of the day.
Thornton got a grounder to short for the first out of the ninth before pinch-hitter Travis Ferrick's fly ball to center was not deep enough to score John Hennessy from third. Thornton then struck out Tom Bourdon on three pitches for his fifth K of the afternoon to end it.
His sixth win of 2014 was also his 18th as a Tar Heel, and his 18-2 career record gives him the best winning percentage (.900) in school history for any pitcher with at least 20 decisions.
Carolina will look to secure its third league series win Saturday as Benton Moss is scheduled to face lefty Andrew Chin at 1:30.