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No. 13 Canes Upend No. 3 Tar Heels 8-0

April 6, 2012

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 R H E W: E. Erickson (5-3)
Tar Heels 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 1 L: K. Emanuel (5-2)
Hurricanes 1 0 2 0 1 0 1 3 X 8 14 2  

2B: Mederos 2 (8), T. Palmer (5) | T. Coyle (4), G. Atwood (1)
P. O’Brien (10)
P. O’Brien 4 (35), C. Mack 3 (12), M. Broad (17)

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The University of Miami Hurricanes got back to their winning ways on Friday night against No. 3 North Carolina, taking the series opener against the visiting Tar Heels by a final score of 8-0.

Though the game featured a Coastal Division pitching dream in dueling starters Eric Erickson and Kent Emanuel, the story of Friday night’s game was the Hurricanes’ timely hitting, which had been in short supply over the past four games.

After plating only six runs over the past week, the team managed to tag the Heels’ lefthanded starter for 10 hits and four runs in his six innings of work, including three in the first three frames. Miami’s balanced offensive attack, which pounded out 14 hits against a Carolina staff boasting the best ERA in the Atlantic Coast Conference, came at a much-needed time for Head Coach Jim Morris and his staff. Every Hurricane starter recorded a hit, while Dale Carey, Brad Fieger, Chantz Mack and Jarred Mederos all managed multi-hit performances.

The Hurricanes opened the scoring in the game’s first inning, as leadoff hitter Tyler Palmer, making his first start since last Friday night against Clemson, hit a double down the left field line. After Carey moved Palmer to third with a clean sacrifice bunt, O’Brien drove the sophomore in with an RBI groundout to give Miami an early 1-0 advantage.

Miami would tack on two more runs in the top of the third, opening up the frame with a lead-off single from Carey. The hit, which snuck its way through the right side of the infield, extended the Georgia native’s hit streak to a season-high eight games. A single from Fieger advanced Carey to second, while a big two-out hit from Chantz Mack plated both runners to build momentum and a 3-0 advantage for the home team.

As the Hurricanes bats got going, Erickson utilized his vicious offspeed repertoire to keep the Heels hitters off balance. Erickson retired 11 straight batters after a double in the first inning, until UNC second baseman Mike Zolk reached via error in the fifth inning. Erickson finished the night in typically effective fashion, needing only 90 pitches to get through seven innings of work. He allowed only four hits, walked none and struck out five.

Erickson’s counterpart Kent Emanuel was anything but spectacular on Friday night for the third-ranked Tar Heels, scattering 10 hits and four runs through his six innings of work. The former Baseball America Freshman All-American struggled throughout his start, needing 30 pitches to get out of the second inning and allowing at least one hit in every single frame.

The Heels used situational pitching to work their way through the game, pitching Shane Taylor, Cody Penny and Tate Parrish each for one-third of an inning or less before handing the ball off to reliever Jimmy Messer for the final outs. After Messer walked Garrett Kennedy and allowed a single to Carey, senior Peter O’Brien cracked a three-run homerun over the scoreboard in left field to extend the Canes lead to 8-0. Lefthanders AJ Salcines and Chris Diaz did the rest of the work for Miami, pitching scoreless seventh and eighth innings to secure the win.

The Hurricanes return to Alex Rodriguez Park for game two of the series on Saturday night at 7 p.m. The game is scheduled for broadcast on Comcast/CSS and will be simulcast on ESPN3.com.