DURHAM, N.C. - Brian Goodwin went 4-for-4 with five RBI and was a triple short of hitting for the cycle as 11th-ranked North Carolina upended Duke 21-9 in game one of the series Friday evening at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Goodwin singled twice, doubled, homered and walked twice to reach base safely in all six of his plate appearances. He and teammates Tommy Coyle and Levi Michael combined to drive in 13 of North Carolina's 21 runs.
The Tar Heels (12-2, 1-0 ACC) knocked 21 hits in the game and put together a nine-run third inning that blew open what had been a 5-4 ballgame. North Carolina had six players with multiple hits, including leadoff man Ben Bunting who went 3-for-5 with four runs and cleanup hitter Jesse Wierzbicki who finished 3-for-5 with two RBI. Shortstop Ryan Graepel also hit a two-run homer for North Carolina.
Duke got a career-high four hits from sophomore outfielder Will Piwnica-Worms and two RBI apiece from the 3-4-5 lineup combination of Piwnica-Worms, Jeremy Gould and Eric Brady. The Blue Devils (9-4, 0-1 ACC) scored five runs after North Carolina's big third inning, but could not make up the deficit.
Duke tagged six runs and seven hits off of North Carolina starter Matt Harvey, though only three runs were earned. Duke also touched up relievers Bryant Gaines and Cody Penny for three runs - one earned - but were blanked by Nate Striz and Zach Bernard, who tossed consecutive scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth.
Duke starter Michael Ness (1-1) took his first loss in four starts this season after surrendering 11 runs - six earned - over 2.2 innings. North Carolina scored in six different innings, excluding a scoreless ninth from Duke redshirt-junior Michael Seander who struck out three without surrendering a hit.
North Carolina's offense got started early, putting four runs on the board in the first inning. A two-run home run by Graepel capped the rally, which included four North Carolina hits. Levi Michael and Goodwin also drove in one run apiece with RBI singles to help give the Tar Heels a 4-0 lead to start the game.
The Blue Devils bounced right back though, and scored three runs in their first turn to cut the lead to 4-3. Duke took advantage of a pair of leadoff walks to Jake Lemmerman and Mike Carroll and got both runners in with a double down the left field line from Piwnica-Worms. The two-base knock was Piwnica-Worms' team-leading seventh extra-base hit of the season and put him in position to later score on an RBI groundout by Brady.
North Carolina took one of those runs back in the top of the second, however, thanks to a leadoff double by Dillon Hazlett. Hazlett slapped his two-bagger down the first base line and moved to third on another single from Bunting, which was his second hit of the game. From there, Coyle drove him in with a groundout to the right side to give North Carolina a 5-3 lead.
Harvey continued to struggle with his command in the bottom of the second, and Duke once again took advantage to scratch across another run and cut the deficit back to one at 5-4. Junior Dennis O'Grady started the scoring sequence with a single to left field and then moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by outfielder Joe Pedevillano. From there, Harvey dished out two wild pitches to move him to third and then across the plate.
The Tar Heels broke the game open in the top of the third by scoring nine runs on six hits, including a three-run homer by Goodwin. North Carolina loaded the bases with two outs and then sent in seven runs with a walk, a hit batter, a two-run single by Jesse Wierzbicki and Goodwin's three-run homer. Ness left the game with the bases loaded and handed the ball to reliever Ben Grisz, but the Tar Heels sent in three runs off of him. The appearance broke a streak of eight consecutive scoreless innings for Grisz, who had not allowed a run since his first appearance of the year.
The Tar Heels scored three more runs in the fourth to jump ahead 17-4. Goodwin drove in his fifth RBI of the game in the inning with a double down the right field line to put him within a triple of completing the cycle.
Duke responded by scoring twice in the bottom of the fourth to cut the deficit to 17-6. A North Carolina error on a double play ground ball made both runs possible. With runners on first and third, Lemmerman sent a ground ball back to the mound where Harvey fielded it, but sent his throw into center field. O'Grady scored from third on the play, while all base runners were safe. From there, Duke loaded the bases on an infield single from Piwnica-Worms to set the table for another infield single from Gould that sent in Duke's second run.
Duke switched pitchers for the fourth time in the fifth inning, sending senior Jonathan Foreman to take over on the mound for classmate Will Currier. Foreman struck out two batters in a scoreless relief appearance without giving up a hit. He came out again in the sixth and worked another hitless inning while striking out one another batter to give him three in the game.
Duke scored again in the bottom of the sixth on a two-out RBI single from Eric Brady, but then gave up two more runs in the top of the seventh to fall behind 19-7. North Carolina then went to its bullpen again in the bottom of the seventh and brought in right-hander Cody Penny to take over for Bryant Gaines. Penny got into some early trouble by issuing a leadoff walk to Pedevillano and hitting Ryan McCurdy and paid for it when Carroll drove in a run with a single. That would be Duke's last offensive outburst, however, as Striz and Bernard shut down the Blue Devils in the eighth and ninth.
North Carolina would add two more runs in the eight to top the 20-run mark for the game. Seander came on in the top of the ninth and hit the first two he faced, but then bounced back to strike out the next three hitters - all swinging - to end the inning
Duke will have an opportunity tie the series in game two on Saturday, March 13, when the series resumes at 1 p.m. at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The game has been moved up one hour from its original time of 2 p.m.