Red Storm Falls To No. 2 UNC, 4-2, In Coca-Cola Classic Championship|
March 2, 2008
ROCK HILL, S.C. - The Red Storm baseball team played No. 2 North Carolina for the second time in two days, but fell 4-2 in the Coca-Cola Classic Championship game. Michael Aicardi was 1-for-1 with a pair of RBI to lead St. John's (6-2), while Matt Tosoni allowed just one run in 5.0 innings of relief. North Carolina improved to 7-1 with the win.
North Carolina got off to a quick start as Tim Fedroff led off the game with a triple of Red Storm starter Ryan Cole (1-1). After a groundout to third kept Fedroff at third, Dustin Ackley hit a grounder past first baseman Gil Zayas to give UNC a 1-0 lead. After a hit batsman and an infield single loaded the bases, Chad Flack hit a sacrifice fly to deep center to give the Tar Heels a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
In the top of the second inning, Paul Karmas led off with a walk and Greg Hopkins followed with a one-out single to give the Red Storm two on and one out. Hopkins, however, was picked off by UNC catcher Tim Federowicz and Zayas followed with a fly out to the center field wall to end the inning.
North Carolina tacked on another run in third after a pair of singles gave UNC runners on first and third with no outs. Kyle Seager plated a run with a sacrifice fly to give UNC a 3-0 lead, but Red Storm catcher Daniel Benedetti threw out his second runner of the year and Cole followed with a strikeout to end the third.
The Red Storm threatened in the fourth, but was held at bay after loading the bases with two outs. UNC pitcher Garrett Davis struck out the first two batters of the inning before allowing a single to Karmas. After throwing two straight balls to Chris Anninos, Davis was replaced on the mound by Ryan Leach. Anninos would walk on four pitches and Hopkins would also draw a walk to load the bases. The inning would end, however, on a Zayas fly out.
Matt Tosoni replaced Cole in the fourth inning and allowed a lead off single before inducing a 6-4-3 double play. After allowing a walk, Tosoni retired the next four batters he faced. Tosoni also allowed a lead off single in the fifth before retiring the next seven batters in a row before allowing a one out home run to Federowicz in the eighth. For Tosoni, after tossing a complete game shutout against Winthrop, it was the first run allowed in 13.1 innings of work this season.
St. John's rallied for two runs in fifth, however, and chased Leach in the process. After hitting Benedetti and walking Tom La Stella to lead off the inning, UNC went to the bullpen and brought in Nate Striz. Brian Kemp then grounded out to advance both runners and set the stage for Michael Aicardi, who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the fourth. On a 1-2 pitch, Aicardi laced a two RBI single into left field to put the Red Storm on the board.
Kemp led off the eighth with a single and Aicardi laid down a sacrifice bunt, but North Carolina pitcher Rob Wooten could not make the play and the Red Storm had runners on first and second with no outs. Jeff Grantham could not lay down a sacrifice bunt, however, and eventually went down on strikes and Wooten retired the next two batters to keep St. John's off the board.