Average night for No. 1 Tar Heels overwhelms Tigers, 10-3, in series opener

UNC battered Clemson pitching for 19 hits, scored 8 runs in first three innings, and cruised to 24th win

Baseball - Daniel Gossett

Photo by Mark Crammer

Baseball - Daniel Gossett

So much for Clemson's determination and good intentions.

For North Carolina's top-ranked Tar Heels, an all-around average performance was more than good enough.

The Tar Heels, who came into their weekend series against the Tigers averaging a nation-best 9.4 runs per game while allowing a nation-best 2.2 runs per contest, thrashed Clemson 10-3 Saturday night in the opening game of a three-game series at Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill.

The victory boosted UNC's record to 24-1 overall and 8-1 in the ACC, while Clemson fell to 16-10 and 5-5 in the conference.

Tar Heels' ace lefthander Kent Emmanuel repeatedly worked his way out of trouble, while his teammates gave him an early lead and plenty of pad.

North Carolina battered Clemson starter Daniel Gossett for four runs in the first inning and another four in the third, and cruised the rest of the way.

Clemson managed 11 hits, but that was no match for the Tar Heels' 19, which included two doubles, a triple and a three-run homer in the first three innings.

Mike Kent came on relief of Gossett in the sixth inning and allowed UNC just two runs the rest of the way.

But any chance Clemson had of making a game of it fizzled when the Tigers loaded the bases with nobody out in the fifth, but failed to score.

North Carolina jumped on top in the bottom of the first with four runs off five hits, including a two-run double by Cody Stubbs. Clemson scratched back with a run in the top of the third, but the Tigers missed a chance for more when Garrett Boulware's drive into the left-center gap was chased down by the Tar Heels with two on and two out.

UNC broke the game open with four runs in the bottom of the third, capped by a three-run homer by Matt Roberts.

Clemson, which trailed 10-1 after UNC scored a run in the bottom of the eighth, scored a pair of runs in the top of the ninth for the final margin.

The two teams play again Sunday at 7 p.m. The game will be televised by the ACC's regional network.

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