DURHAM, N.C. – Left-hander Hobbs Johnson tossed 7.1 scoreless innings and right fielder Brian Holberton belted a three-run homer in the first to lead No. 1 North Carolina to a 10-1 victory over the Duke baseball team in Sunday’s series finale at Boshamer Stadium.
Johnson (2-0) scattered six hits, walked three and struck out four to pick up his second victory of the season. Holberton also contributed a double and four RBI as the Tar Heels totaled 16 hits compared to seven for the Blue Devils. All nine in UNC’s starting lineup had at least one hit, led by Cody Stubbs and Parks Jordan with three each.
Junior Robert Huber (4-4) took the loss, allowing seven runs on nine hits in 4.1 innings of work. The Duke right-hander struck out three and walked a pair. At the plate, junior Mark Lumpa and redshirt sophomore Chris Marconcini both had two hits while senior Al Morris knocked in Duke’s lone run of the game with an RBI single in the ninth.
“They jumped on us with the three runs in the first,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “Both in the Florida State series and this series, we found ourselves playing out of a hole a lot. When you spot a good team like that three runs in the first, you’re playing catch-up the whole ballgame. They’re the No. 1 team in the country and they played like it today. You tip your hat to Carolina; they really swung the bat well.”
For the third time in as many games, North Carolina scored multiple runs in the bottom of the first to take an early lead. Center fielder Chaz Frank began the frame with a single and designated hitter Landon Lassiter was hit by a pitch to put the first two batters aboard. Left fielder Lumpa threw out Frank trying to score on a Colin Moran base hit for the first out of the inning, but Holberton sent Huber’s 2-0 offering over the wall in right to give UNC the 3-0 advantage. The home run was Holberton’s eighth of the season.
The Tar Heels added a fourth run in the third on Stubbs two-out RBI double and staked a 5-0 advantage by the bottom of the fourth. Jordan and catcher Matt Roberts notched back-to-back bases hit with one out in the fourth and Frank drove in Jordan with a hard hit ground ball to first.
North Carolina added two runs in both the fifth and the seventh innings before scoring a final tally in the eighth on a Holberton double to right.
In the top of the ninth, freshman Jalen Phillips drew a one-out walk and scored on a Morris base hit to center field.
Freshman Michael Matuella and sophomore Sarkis Ohanian combined to throw 2.2 innings of scoreless relief as the duo allowed just one hit and combined for three strikeouts.
The Blue Devils have a home-and-home series with High Point lined up for this week. Duke will play host to the Panthers Tuesday at Jack Coombs Field before traveling to High Point Wednesday.