The North Carolina Tarheels took a 1-0 series lead over the Stanford Cardinal Friday afternoon with a 5-2 victory at Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill, NC. UNC pitcher Patrick Johnson threw 7 2/3 innings of one run ball while the Stanford bullpen struggled late. The Tarheels received production across the board, but ninth hitter Seth Baldwin was the difference-maker in this game, going 2-for-3 with a home run and 3 RBIs.
Stanford looked a little shaky early as third baseman Stephen Piscotty struggled with his throws around the diamond. In the first inning he short hopped a throw to his first baseman. Luckily for the Cardinal they got a favorable bounce and were able to throw out Chaz Frank trying to get to second. In the second inning, Piscotty had an easy throw to second he threw away. This time UNC capitalized as Ben Bunting singled to score Jesse Wierzbicki.
The one run looked like it might be the only one scored as both pitchers settled in and threw up zeros into the seventh inning. In the bottom of the seventh, UNC added crucial insurance runs as Seth Baldwin hit a two-run home run to left field. That home run would prove crucial as the Cardinal rallied in the eighth inning with two runs of their own to deficit to 3-2. Tyler Gaffney singled, Stephen Piscotty doubled, and Brian Ragira drove them both in with a single.
Unfortunately, Stanford's bullpen was unable to keep the deficit to one. In the bottom of the eighth, UNC managed a pair of runs off Dean Mcardle and Scott Snodgress thanks to two singles, a walk, and a sacrifice fly. The Cardinal were unable to add any runs in the ninth inning and lost 5-2.
Game two of this series is set for noon pacific on Saturday and will be broadcast on ESPN. A Cardinal loss sends Stanford home, while a win forces an elimination game on Sunday.