Tigers again struggle to hit, drop 5th straight

Tigers again struggle to hit, drop 5th straight

Baseball

Tigers again struggle to hit, drop 5th straight

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North Carolina hit three home runs as part of a five-run fourth inning to beat Clemson 5-4 in Game 2 of the three-game series Saturday at Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. The big blow in the decisive fourth was Clemente Inclan’s three-run blast to right field off Clemson starter Ty Olenchuk.

The win, coupled with Friday’s victory, allowed the Tar Heels to take the series. Unfortunately for the Tigers, it marked their fifth straight loss overall and their fourth in a row in the ACC.

Clemson (5-7, 1-4 ACC) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second when Caden Grice came home thanks to a throwing error by UNC starting pitcher Max Carlson, who was trying to pick off Regan Reid at first base.

The Tigers held their one-run lead until the bottom of the fourth inning. The Tar Heels (9-4, 5-3 ACC) grabbed control of the game with five runs on six hits in the inning, including home runs from Roberts, Inclan and Stewart. Inclan’s home run was a three-run shot to right field. Stewart’s solo home run that followed turned out to be the game winner.

All five UNC runs were charged to Olenchuk, who had allowed no runs and just two hits through the first three innings of the game. The freshman has now lost each of his last two starts.

Mat Clark came on in relief for Olenchuk and pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings, while allowing just three hits, fanning seven batters and walking none.

Clemson answered the North Carolina fourth with a big inning of its own in the top of the fifth to get back in the game. The Tigers plated three runs on one hit but used one hit batter and four walks to get the job done. They got RBI drawn walks from James Parker, Grice and Cooper Ingle.

Again, Clemson had trouble hitting the ball as it finished the game with just four hits. The Tigers left the bases load in the second and fifth innings and had the tying run at second base with one out in the top of the seventh inning, as well, and could not bring him home. That was the last time they had an opportunity to score.

In all, the Tigers left nine runners stranded and were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

The Tigers and Tar Heels will conclude their three-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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