CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — It was groundhog day Sunday as once again fourth-ranked Clemson took an early lead only to see it evaporate as North Carolina rallied late for a third straight game to defeat the Tigers 3-2 on a Tyler Lynn walk-off infield single to score Ashton McGee in the 10th inning.
“It was a tough day again. We’ve had a tough weekend,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said afterward. “We have been in every single ballgame but you have to give North Carolina credit. They found a way to get it done.”
Once again, a Clemson starter pitched a great game, but only to see it get away from the Tigers. This time it was two Clemson errors that did them in.
Pat Krall went eight innings and gave just two runs, neither earned, while scattering five hits. Krall threw 110 pitches, 74 for strikes, while fanning four Tar Heels. Jeremy Beasley was credit with the loss. Alex Schnell came on with runners on the corners and two outs in the 10th to try and get the Tigers to the 11th, but Lynn’s slow roller to second base was too difficult of a play for Jordan Greene to make, which allowed the winning run to score.
“The bottom line is we have to swing the bats better,” Lee said. “We didn’t give Pat much to work with and he pitched his butt off for us.”
Clemson got on the board in the top of the first inning thanks to a two-run home run from catcher Chris Williams. Chase Pinder walked to start the game off, and with one out, Williams hit a bomb to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead after one inning.
North Carolina (36-9, 19-5 ACC) got on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning. With one out and one on Greene muffed a throw from Grayson Byrd would have been an out at second and put runners on second and third with one away. Lynn then grounded out to Greene and the Heels cut Clemson’s lead to 2-1.
The Tigers once again struggled with runners in scoring position with less than two outs. Clemson had chances to do some damage in the fourth and sixth innings with a runner on third and only one out, but the could not push any more runs across the plate.
The Tar Heels tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning thanks to another Clemson error.
The Tigers fell to 34-11 overall and 16-8 in the ACC with the loss. Clemson will have the week off because of exams and will play Nevada next Saturday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson for the first of a three-game series between the two teams.