CHAPEL HILL, NC – North Carolina starting pitcher Luke Putkonen didn’t allow a hit until the eighth inning and a runner past second base the entire night as UNC Greensboro dropped a 7-0 contest to the fifth-ranked Tar Heels Tuesday evening at Boshamer Stadium.
Putkonen (6-0) earned the win after allowing just two hits, while striking out five and walking three in 8.1 innings of work. UNCG put two of its first three batters on in the ninth, spoiling Putkonen’s bid for his first career complete game and forcing UNC head coach Mike Fox to bring on Adam Warren to record the final two outs of the contest.
UNCG starting pitcher Jonathan Nichols (1-3) suffered the loss after surrendering four runs on five hits, while striking out one and walking two in 4.2 innings of work. Wes McCall, Clinton McKinney and Brandon Harvey also saw action on the hill for the Spartans.
North Carolina (42-11) first baseman Chad Flack put the Tar Heels out in front by a run in the bottom of the first when the sophomore crushed a two-out solo home run over the left-centerfield wall for the game’s first run. Bryan Steed gave the Tar Heels a 2-0 lead after two when he singled to centerfield to score Matt Spencer from second.
The Tar Heels played long ball again in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 3-0 lead when catcher Benji Johnson laced a line drive home run over the leftfield wall for his team-leading 12th roundtripper of the season.
North Carolina played a little small ball in the bottom of the fifth inning to tack on another run and take a 4-0 lead in the process. Steed opened the frame with a bunt down the first base line that simple wouldn’t roll foul. Leadoff batter Mike Cavasinni followed with a bunt single of his own down the third base line to put runners on first and second with no outs. Reid Fronk advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt, before Nichols struck Flack out swinging for the second out of the inning. Despite the huge punchout from Nichols, the Spartans were unable to avoid damage as Josh Horton singled in the hole to shortstop to account for the lone run of the frame.
UNC added another three runs in the bottom of the seventh, highlighted by a two-run single off the bat of Horton for his second and third RBIs of the night. Flack also picked up his second RBI of the evening during the inning.
Greg Feltes and Jermaine Mitchell were the lone Spartans to record hits in the game, both finishing with a single apiece. Mitchell’s single up the middle in the ninth extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
UNCG returns to action Thursday night at 6 p.m. when the Spartans begin a critical three-game series with Southern Conference rival Elon from UNCG Baseball Stadium.
North Carolina 7, UNC Greensboro 0 (May 16, 2006 at Chapel Hill, NC)
UNC Greensboro...... 000 000 000 - 0 2
North Carolina...... 110 110 30X - 7 9 1 (42-11)
Pitchers: UNC Greensboro - Jonathan Nichols; Wes McCall(5);
Brandon Harvey(8). North Carolina - Luke Putkonen; Adam Warren(9).
Win-Luke Putkonen(6-0) Loss-Jonathan Nichols(1-3) T-2:15 A-858.
HR UNC - Chad Flack; Benji Johnson.
- UNCG -