CHAPEL HILL --- Trent Thornton picked up where Benton Moss left off and No. 1 North Carolina completed a 6-2 win over Clemson Monday afternoon at Boshamer Stadium. Moss was electric in 2.2 innings Sunday night, striking out six of the nine batters he faced before the skies opened up to force the game to be halted.
Taking the mound Monday with a 2-0 lead in the third and a two-strike count, Thornton (6-0) needed just one pitch to retire Tyler Slaton swinging and end the top of the third. The Charlotte, N.C., freshman allowed just a pair of unearned runs over the final six innings, striking out seven and throwing just 72 pitches, 58 of which were strikes.
Carolina (25-1, 9-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) manufactured a pair of runs in the second Sunday night before the stoppage. Brian Holberton led off the frame with a single, stole second and took third on a Mike Zolk single. Matt Roberts chased Holberton home with a run-scoring bunt and Landon Lassiter doubled home Zolk two batters later.
Clemson (16-11, 5-6 ACC) took advantage of a pair of Tar Heel errors in the fifth to make it 2-1. Jon McGibbon reached on a throwing error and Shane Kennedy singled to lead off the inning. After a failed sacrifice attempt, Jay Baum's grounder led to another error and Kennedy scored from second for the first Tiger run. But Roberts ended the threat by cutting down Baum on a steal attempt to keep UNC ahead.
After Thornton escaped from a bases-loaded jam in the six, Carolina got an insurance run thanks to some aggressive baserunning. Michael Russell singled with one out and moved to third on a throwing error by Clemson reliever Zack Erwin. After a Holberton walk, Russell stole home when Holberton was able to stay in a run-down after being caught off first.
The Tar Heels got two more in the seventh on a two-out single by Cody Stubbs, and Lassiter, who matched a career high with four safeties, finished the scoring with an RBI single in the eighth.
Clate Schmidt (2-1) took the loss for Clemson after allowing a pair of runs Sunday night. Garrett Boulware led the Tigers with a pair of hits and an RBI.
Carolina will look for its 10th straight win over the Tigers in the series final Monday night at 6.