Stetson Falls to North Carolina in Game One of Super Regionals, 7-4

Chapel Hill, NC – The margin for error once team advance to the Super Regional round of the NCAA Baseball championship is razor thin. One pitch can mean the difference between winning and losing.
 
Such was the case for Stetson on Friday afternoon at the University of North Carolina's Boshamer Stadium. Once pitch altered the course of the game, and led to a 7-4 Tar Heels victory over the Hatters, snapping Stetson's 18-game win streak.
 
UNC improved to 42-18 on the year with the win and moved to within one victory of its 11th College World Series appearance. It was the 100th all-time NCAA tournament victory in Tar Heels history and was the 17thconsecutive home victory for UNC this year.
 
Stetson falls to 48-12 on the year and must now face an elimination game for the first time this post-season.
 
That one critical pitch on Friday came in the fifth inning with the game tied at 1-1. After retiring the first two Tar Heels in the inning, Stetson junior Logan Gilbert (11-2) allowed a two-out single to UNC leadoff hitter Kyle Datres. Gilbert then went to work on Michael Busch, pitching to a full count before his final 3-2 pitch, which could have gone either way, was called a ball.
 
If Gilbert had gotten that strike called, he could have opened the sixth inning against UNC's Cody Roberts. Instead, Gilbert had to face him with two on and two out. After working to a 2-2 count, Gilbert left a breaking ball up in the zone and Roberts blasted it out to left for a three-run home run and a 4-1 lead.
 
The Hatters, who had taken the lead in the first inning on a solo home run by Mike Spooner, cut the UNC lead to 4-3 in the seventh inning, scoring a pair of runs on an error and a wild pitch.
 
With the tying run in scoring position, and the top of the order up, UNC brought in closer Josh Hiatt, who got out of the inning without allowing any further damage.
 
UNC added three insurance runs off Joey Gonzalez in the bottom of the inning, two coming on a home run by Busch and the third on a bases loaded walk by senior Ben Onyshko to build the lead to 7-3.
 
Fighting to the end, the Hatters plated a run in the ninth on a Spooner single and then loaded the bases, bringing Brooks Wilson to the plate representing the go-ahead run. Wilson got a pitch he could handle, but his fly ball to left came up short, leaving the three runners on base.
 
For the game, the Hatters had just one hit, Spooner's in the ninth, in 10 chances with runners in scoring position, leaving a total of nine runners on base in the game.
 
UNC starter Cooper Criswell (6-2) got credit for the win after allowing just one run on four hits over five innings. Sophomore Austin Bergner, a product of Windermere Prep near Orlando, got the final out for his first save. Gilbert took just his second loss in the last two seasons, allowing the four runs on six hits with six strikeouts over 5.1 innings.
 
Offensively, Spooner (two hits, two RBI) and Koos (three hits) did most of the damage for Stetson. Roberts and Ike Freeman had two hits each to lead UNC.
 
Stetson will try to even the series on Saturday at noon when junior Jack Perkins (11-2, 2.34) takes the mound against UNC sophomore Gianluca Dalatri (2-2, 2.35). The game is scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN2.

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