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No. 1 UNC sweeps 3-game series with No. 7 NC State

Posted Sunday, April 23, 2006

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Tar Heels secure ACC's best mark with first series sweep of Pack since 2002.

Chapel Hill, NC - Junior right-hander Daniel Bard fired a complete game, four-hit shutout to lead No. 1 North Carolina to a 4-0 victory and a weekend series sweep of No. 7 NC State Sunday at Boshamer Stadium. The three-game sweep by the Tar Heels (34-8, 15-6 ACC) was their first of the Wolfpack (31-13, 13-8 ACC) since 2002 and secured the best record in the Atlantic Coast Conference. In a game that was completed earlier Sunday, Carolina took game two of the series, 3-2, in 14 innings.

Bard (5-2) struck out eight and did not walk a batter en route to his third career complete game shutout and first this season. He allowed a single to the first batter he faced before setting down the next nine and followed a fifth inning single by retiring the next 10 Wolfpack batters. Center fielder Matt Camp led off the ninth with a double but was stranded at third to preserve the first shutout of NC State since April 8, 2005 at Virginia.

Sunday's nine shutout innings gives Bard a run of 16 straight innings without an earned run. He has won back-to-back starts for the first time since a March 11 victory at Wake Forest and his eight strikeouts were his most since fanning eight Demon Deacons in that same start. The nine innings marked Bard's longest career outing without issuing a walk.

Carolina pitching held the Wolfpack to five runs and just two extra-base hits in 32 innings of baseball this weekend. NC State entered the weekend with the ACC's top team batting average but hit just .173 against the Tar Heels.

First baseman Chad Flack went 2-for-4 with a key two-run home run to extend his hitting streak to nine games. He has seven multi-hit games in his last eight outings and now has 17 RBI in the last 11 games. Center fielder Mike Cavasinni also had two hits for the second straight game. Designated hitter Tim Federowicz singled to lead off the sixth to push his current hitting streak to a career-best nine games.

NC State starter Eryk McConnell (6-3) allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks over 5.2 innings. He struck out five before giving way to Joey Cutler in the sixth. Camp had two of State's four hits on the afternoon.

Carolina took a 1-0 lead in the fourth as shortstop Josh Horton singled up the middle to lead off the fourth and scored from second on a throwing error by Ramon Corona.

Flack pushed the lead to 3-0 in the fifth with his fifth home run of the season, a two-run shot off Surkamp. Third baseman Reid Fronk drew a two-out walk before Flack drilled the first pitch he saw off the scoreboard in left center.

Carolina scored for a third straight inning in the sixth when second baseman Bryan Steed drew a bases loaded walk off Cutler to give the Tar Heels a 4-0 advantage. Left fielder Jay Cox, who scored the run, was walked by McConnell and reached second when a throw from Corona pulled shortstop Jonathan Diaz off the bag at second for the Pack's third error of the afternoon. Cavasinni legged out a two-out infield single to keep the inning alive before Steed's walk.

The Tar Heels are back in action Tuesday against VCU at 6 p.m. at Boshamer Stadium.

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No. 1 UNC sweeps 3-game series with No. 7 NC State
UNC catcher Benji Johnson played high school ball at Pittsboro's Northwood High.
photo by Gene Galin

Related info:
NCSU at UNC Baseball Photo Gallery - 4/23/06