COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland stranded 14 base runners and North Carolina starter Trent Thornton scattered six hits over seven shutout innings as the 13th-ranked Tar Heels won game one of the weekend series 7-0 at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium Friday.
Maryland (10-5, 1-3 ACC) put runners in scoring position in the first, second and third innings and loaded the bases in the sixth, seventh and eighth, but were unable to push anyone across. Each time the Terps threatened Thornton buckled down and worked his way out of the jam. The sophomore righty finished with eight strikeouts, two shy of his career high.
Terrapin starter Jake Stinnett was the victim of the long ball Friday night. The Tar Heels (13-4, 3-1 ACC) hit three home runs, all of which were solo shots, including back-to-back homers to start the third inning. Designated hitter Tom Zengel had two solo homers in the effort and finished 3-for-3.
North Carolina broke the deadlock in the third beginning with home runs from Joe Dudek and Zengel. Michael Russell increased the Tar Heel lead to three with a RBI double down the left field line and later scored on a throwing error to make it 4-0.
UNC tacked on a run in the sixth when Zengel hit his second home run of the game and added runs in the seventh and eighth, respectively, on sacrifice flies.
Maryland attempted to cut into the deficit in the sixth after singles by Nick Cieri and Kevin Martir loaded the bases. But Thornton struck out the next two hitters. In the seventh, a single by Krysthian Leal, a LaMonte Wade walk and an error loaded the bases once again. This time, Thornton got Mike Rescigno swinging and Cieri to pop up to end the threat.
Against reliever Reilly Hovis in the eighth, two walks and an Andrew Amaro single loaded the bases with two outs. But Hovis preserved the shutout by getting Wade on strikes.
Thornton earned the win and improved to 5-0. Stinnett took the loss after going six innings and giving up four earned runs with six strikeouts to drop his record to 2-3. The series continues Saturday with the Terps and Tar Heels set for a 2 p.m. first pitch from Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.