Grice pitches, powers No. 7 Clemson as Tigers finish off sweep of UNC

By R.L. Bynum

Carolina finally pitched well throughout a game against No. 7 Clemson, but the Tar Heels couldn’t deal with versatile Tigers star Caden Grice.

Grice, who usually plays first base, beat UNC from the mound and the plate as the Tigers finished off a sweep of the regular-season-ending three-game series with a 3–1 victory Saturday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium for their 12th consecutive victory.

Grice (7–1) hit a no-doubt two-run home run in the first inning and gave up only four hits, two walks, and one unearned run while striking out nine in 7⅓ innings. In one of the best performances by a starter against UNC this season, Grice threw 62 of his 97 pitches for strikes.

UNC (33–22, 14–14 ACC) takes a four-game losing streak into next week’s ACC tournament at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, with the league announcing pools Saturday and the tournament schedule on Sunday. Carolina will be the No. 7 seed and play in Pool B with No. 2-seed Virginia and No. 11 seed Georgia Tech. Tech.

Sophomore center fielder Vance Honeycutt was again out with a lower-body injury, and Coach Scott Forbes didn’t have an update on his status after the game.

Carolina got its first decent, albeit short, outing from a starting pitcher in a series as Forbes gave the ball to sophomore left-hander Dalton Pence, who threw five pitches in Friday’s game.

Pence gave up a two-out, two-run home run to Grice in the first inning.

Pence only gave up two other hits in 2⅓ innings, walking one and striking out three. He gave way in the third inning to fifth-year right-hander Kevin Eaise, who pitched two scoreless innings with one hit and one strikeout.

After redshirt sophomore right fielder Casey Cook led off the game with a walk, Grice retired the next 11 Tar Heels, including five strikeouts, before junior catcher Tomas Frick’s two-out single in the fourth. Grice fanned junior third baseman Johnny Castagnozzi for the second time to get out of the inning.

Singles by left fielder Patrick Alvarez (top photo) and junior shortstop Colby Wilkerson gave UNC runners at second and third in the fifth inning with two outs, but Grice stuck out Cook to escape the jam.

Eaise came out after giving up a single with one out in the fifth. Kyle Percival gave up a single and a walk to load the bases before Connor Bovair relieved him. Bovair struck out his first batter before Alvarez robbed Grice of a second home run with a leaping grab to end the Tigers’ threat.

Horvath’s speed produced UNC’s only run in the sixth; he legged out a double to right field, took third on a passed ball and scored on junior catcher Tomas Frick’s sacrifice fly to short left field.

Clemson (39–17, 20–10) added an insurance run in the eighth inning on Riley Bertram’s RBI double down the right-field line.

Bovair pitched better than his previous two outings, giving up four hits, one run with no walks, and four strikeouts in 3⅔ innings.

NOTES — Horvath is the first ACC player with at least 20 home runs (21), 20 doubles (20) and 20 steals (22) in a season since Florida State’s Marshall McDougall did it in 1999 (28 homers, 26 doubles, 22 steals). … Cook extended his on-base streak to 43 games, the longest since Dustin Ackley’s 59-game streak in 2009. … Clemson trimmed its deficit in the all-time series with UNC to 103–98–1 and 51–34–1 in games at Clemson. … UNC fell to 5–17 against teams currently ranked in the D1 Baseball Top 25. … Clemson started ACC play 2–8 and lost its first three ACC series but won its final seven league series.

No. 7 Clemson 3, UNC 1

ACC standings

Coastal Division

No. 21 Virginia19–1144–11W9
No. 11 Miami18–12137–18W2
No. 16 Duke16–1335–19L2
North Carolina14–14433–21L4
Virginia Tech12–1730–21W1
Georgia Tech12–18730–24L4

Atlantic Division

No. 1 Wake Forest22–745–9L1
No. 7 Clemson20–1039–17W12
No. 22 Boston College16–1434–17W2
Notre Dame15–1530–22L3
N.C. State13–16934–18W3
Florida State9–2113½23–31W2

Thursday’s results
No. 7 Clemson 14, UNC 7
N.C. State 7, Pittsburgh 2
No. 1 Wake Forest 6, Virginia Tech 3
No. 21 Virginia 12, Georgia Tech 5
Notre Dame 5, Boston College 1
No. 16 Duke 5, No. 11 Miami 3
Louisville 7, Florida State 4
Friday’s results
No. 7 Clemson 5, UNC 4
Boston College 7, Notre Dame 2
Boston College 8, Notre Dame 4
N.C. State 17, Pittsburgh 8
No. 1 Wake Forest 7, Virginia Tech 5
No. 21 Virginia 10, Georgia Tech 6
Florida State 7, Louisville 4
No. 11 Miami 10, No. 16 Duke 8, 11 innings
Saturday’s games
No. 21 Virginia 8, Georgia Tech 7
No. 7 Clemson 3, UNC 1
N.C. State 8, Pittsburgh 2
Florida State 6, Louisville 2
Virginia Tech 14, No. 1 Wake Forest 6
No. 11 Miami 10, No. 16 Duke 1
ACC tournament at Durham Bulls Athletic Park
May 23–28

ACC tournament pools

Pool A (winner faces Pool D winner in Saturday’s semifinals)
No. 1 seed Wake Forest
8. Notre Dame
12. Pittsburgh
Pool B (winner faces Pool C winner in Saturday’s semifinals)
2. Virginia
7. North Carolina
11. Georgia Tech
Pool C (winner faces Pool B winner in Saturday’s semifinals)
3. Clemson
6. Boston College
10. Virginia Tech
Pool D (winner faces Pool A winner in Saturday’s semifinals)
4. Miami
5. Duke
9. N.C. State

(current rank)
17Friday10–8 LSeton HallHome0–1
18Saturday11–2 WSeton HallHome1–1
19Sunday4–2 WSeton HallHome2–1
21Tuesday14–2 WRadfordHome3–1
22Wed.10–0 WLongwoodHome4–1
24Friday6–5 LNo. 15 East CarolinaGreenville4–2
26Sunday6–5 LNo. 15 East CarolinaHome4–3
28Tuesday10–4 WVCUHome5–3
1Wed.14–10 WVCUHome6–3
3Friday3–2 W
11 innings
Stony BrookHome7–3
4Saturday7–5 WStony BrookHome8–3
5Sunday15–4 WStony BrookHome9–3
7Tuesday8–4 W,
5 innings
Western CarolinaHome10–3
8Wed.15–5 WPenn StateHome11–3
10Friday7–3 LNo. 11 VirginiaHome11–4,
0–1 ACC
11Saturday8–4 LNo. 11 VirginiaHome11–5,
0–2 ACC
11Saturday6–0 WNo. 11 VirginiaHome12–5,
1–2 ACC
14Tuesday16–3 WCharlotteCharlotte13–5
15Wed.16–2 WHigh PointHome14–5
17, 18Friday,
17–7 WPittsburghPittsburgh15–5,
2–2 ACC
21Tuesday6–4 WN.C. A&THome16–5
23Thursday6–3 WDukeHome17–5,
3–2 ACC
24Friday8–5 LDukeHome17–6,
3–3 ACC
25Saturday5–3 WDukeHome18–6,
4–3 ACC
28Tuesday12–7 LNo. 9 Coastal CarolinaHome18–7
31Friday10–8 WNotre DameSouth Bend, Ind.19–7,
5–3 ACC
2Sunday5–2 WNotre DameSouth Bend, Ind.20–7,
6–3 ACC
2Sunday9–1 LNotre DameSouth Bend, Ind20–8,
6–4 ACC
4Tuesday5–0 LSouth CarolinaCharlotte20–9
6Thursday8–1 WGeorgia TechAtlanta21–9,
7–4 ACC
7Friday10–6 WGeorgia TechAtlanta22–9,
8–4 ACC
7Friday8–4 LGeorgia TechAtlanta22–10,
8–5 ACC
11Tuesday10–6 WQueensHome23–10
13Thursday5–4 LNo. 8 MiamiHome23–11,
8–6 ACC
9–8 W,
11 inn.
No. 8 MiamiHome24–11,
9–6 ACC
15Saturday4–3 LNo. 8 MiamiHome24–12,
9–7 ACC
18Tuesday5–3 WCharlotteHome25–12
21Friday9–8 L,
10 inn.
Boston CollegeHome25–13,
9–8 ACC
22Saturday9–4 LBoston CollegeHome25–14,
9–9 ACC
23Sunday6–2 LBoston CollegeHome25–15,
9–10 ACC
25Tuesday18–2 WUNCWHome26–15
28Friday7–0 LVirginia TechBlacksburg, Va.26–16,
9–11 ACC
29Saturday12–8 WVirginia TechBlacksburg, Va.27–16,
10–11 ACC
29Saturday13–7 WVirginia TechBlacksburg, Va.28–16,
11–11 ACC
2Tuesday6–5 LNo. 11 CampbellHome28–17
3Wed.2–1 WNo. 15 East CarolinaGreenville29–17
9Tuesday5–4 WGardner-WebbHome30–17
11Thursday9–8 WN.C. StateHome31–17,
12–11 ACC
12Friday9–3 WN.C. StateHome32–17,
13–11 ACC
13Saturday12–2 WN.C. StateHome33–17,
14–11 ACC
16Tuesday8–6 LNo. 9 Coastal CarolinaConway, S.C.33–18
18Thursday14–7 LNo. 3 ClemsonClemson, S.C.33–19,
14–12 ACC
19Friday5–4 LNo. 3 ClemsonClemson, S.C.33–20,
14–13 ACC
20Saturday3–1 LNo. 3 ClemsonClemson, S.C.33–21,
14–14 ACC
ACC tournament
23Tuesday11–5 WGeorgia TechDurham34–21
25Thursday10–2 WNo. 11 VirginiaDurham35–21
27Saturday10–4 LSemifinal vs.
No. 3 Clemson
JuneNCAA tournament
Terre Haute Regional
2Friday5–4 LIowaTerre Haute, Ind.35–23
3Saturday5–0 WWright StateTerre Haute, Ind.36–23
4Sunday6–5 L,
13 innings
Iowa Terre Haute, Ind.36–24
Rankings according to D1Baseball

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics Communications



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s