CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Tar Heel left-hander Kent Emanuel limited the Duke baseball team to two hit in his ACC-leading third complete game of the season as No. 1 North Carolina defeated the Blue Devils 7-1 in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday at Boshamer Stadium.
Emanuel (8-1) allowed just two hits – a Grant McCabe single in the first and a Jordan Betts home run in the seventh - struck out eight batters and walked one over nine innings of work. He retired the Blue Devils in order in six frames and set down the final nine batters he faced to close out the contest.
Junior Drew Van Orden (2-5) suffered the loss, giving up six runs – five earned – on six hits in 5.2 innings pitched. The Duke right-hander allowed two hits through the first four innings, but two walks and five hit batsmen proved costly.
North Carolina (37-2, 16-2 ACC) scored two runs without registering a hit in the bottom of the first. Van Orden struggled with his command in the early going, walking a pair and hitting two batters to bring the first run home. A bases loaded wild pitch put the Tar Heels on top 2-0 after one.
In the bottom of the fourth, Matt Roberts laced the first pitch of the at bat down the left field line for a double. The UNC catcher advanced to third on a fly ball to centerfield and ultimately scored the Tar Heels’ third run of the afternoon on a passed ball.
North Carolina added a pair of runs the following frame to extend its lead to 5-0. Right fielder Brian Holberton, who was 3-for-5 on the afternoon, began the frame with a solo shot to right center, his seventh home run of the season. After Michael Russell was hit by a pitch, Mike Zolk continued the inning with a base hit to left. A Parks Jordan sacrifice fly plated Russell, giving North Carolina a five-run margin.
The Tar Heels made it a 6-0 ball game in the sixth on Colin Moran’s 62nd RBI of the season. Center fielder Chaz Frank led off with a single, stole second and advanced to third on an interference call against Duke shortstop Kenny Koplove. Moran then grounded out to second base, but Frank was able to scamper home on the play.
Betts sent the first pitch of the seventh over the wall in left field to cut the North Carolina advantage to 6-1. The home run was Betts’ sixth of the season and 11th of his career.
A Frank RBI single in the seventh scored Russell for a second time, extending North Carolina’s lead to 7-1.
Game two of today’s doubleheader will start at 6 p.m. The two teams will meet in the series finale Sunday at 2 p.m.