UNC Baseball: First inning dooms Tar Heels as they fall to Auburn

The UNC Baseball team gives up 13 runs in the first inning and cant recover as Auburn cruises to Omaha for the College World Series

Things got ugly for the North Carolina Tar Heels baseball team and they were never able to recover in a win or go home Game 3 on Monday afternoon in Chapel Hill.

Manager Mike Fox made the decision to give the Game 3 start vs. Auburn to reliever Joey Lancellotti vs. the Tigers and in the end it proved to be the wrong decision. Lancellotti  didn’t record a single out in the start, walking the first four batters of the game in what was a dreadful top half of the first inning for the Tar Heels.

Auburn scored 13 times on nine hits in the first inning as it took UNC pitchers 65 pitches to get out of the frame. Connor Ollio entered with the bases loaded and no outs but lasted just 2/3 of an inning, giving up three hits to five batters. Hansen Butler faced six batters, giving up five hits in the inning as things got worse for the Tar Heels.

Before they knew it, they were down 13 runs and had used four pitches in the top of the first.

Freshman Will Sandy came in and got the final out of the inning and actually stopped the bleeding for a bit, tossing 5 2/3 innings while allowing just 1 earned run and giving up 7 hits. He was able to hold Auburn to just one more run following that disaster of a first inning but it wasn’t enough.

UNC didn’t record their first hit until the fourth inning and scored three runs in the frame thanks to a three-run homer from Ashton McGee. The Tar Heels would get two more runs in the seventh inning on a two-run homer from Aaron Sabato. The freshman would hit another homer in the ninth giving him a school record 18 on the year.

But in the end, seven UNC runs were only half of what Auburn put on the scoreboard and Monday’s disaster cost this team another trip to Omaha.

The Diamond Heels finish the year 46-19 with an 8-2 postseason record. They dropped Game 1 on Saturday after holding a lead going into the seventh inning. On Sunday, UNC rebounded and shutout the Tigers 2-0 to force game three.

But when UNC needed a solid pitching outing, they didn’t get one.

Auburn advances to their first College World Series since 1997 with the Super Regional win and improved to 5-1 in the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers won all three games in the Atlanta Regional including beating Georgia Tech twice. Auburn will take on Mississippi State in Omaha.

Next: UNC forces a Game 3

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