CHAPEL HILL --- No. 3 North Carolina had a season-low three hits in an 8-4 loss to Duke Thursday night at Boshamer Stadium. Three Blue Devil relievers worked 5.2 scoreless innings and kept the visitors in the lead after Duke scored three times in the fifth following UNC's four-run fourth.
Duke (28-25, 12-16 ACC) took an early lead in the third on a Jimmy Herron double, one of his four hits on the night, and Zack Kone's bunt single that rolled all the way to the third base bag made it 2-0.
Carolina (42-11, 21-7 ACC) surged to the front in the fourth, scoring four times with just two hits. Nine Tar Heels batted in the frame against DU starter Mitch Stallings and Kevin Lewallyn (1-0). Lewallyn entered with UNC up 3-2 and got a sac fly and a fielder's choice to limit the damage.
But the Blue Devils responded immediately, with Max Miller's two-run double off Rodney Hutchison Jr. (6-4) in the fifth tying the game before Kennie Taylor scored on a wild pitch to put Duke up for good.
Lewallyn, Chris McGrath and Nick Hendrix held the Tar Heels to an Ashton McGee infield single over the final five innings to hand Carolina its first series-opening loss since the Long Beach State series in early March.
J.B. Bukauskas will take the mound for UNC in Friday's 6:30 p.m. start.