CHAPEL HILL, N.C., – Designated hitter Landon Lassiter went 3-for-3 with two doubles and two walks to pace North Carolina to a 9-5 win over James Madison in a non-conference baseball game on Tuesday evening at Boshamer Stadium.
JMU fell to 20-24 overall while UNC improved the nation’s best record to 43-4.
The Tar Heels grabbed the early lead with four in the first and built the advantage to 7-0 before JMU struck for five runs in the seventh inning. UNC recovered to plate two of its own in the bottom of the frame and held off the Dukes for the 9-5 win.
Both teams had ample base runners in the game as JMU drew 10 walks to go with six hits and a hit batter while UNC drew 12 walks to accompany eight hits and a hit batter. The teams combined to strand 23 runners on the bases, including 12 for JMU.
Starter Hobbs Johnson limited JMU to one hit in five innings to improve to 4-0. Trent Thornton tossed the final 1 2/3 innings to pick up his fourth save. Sophomore right-hander Patrick Toohers (Florham Park, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) took the loss for JMU after allowing five runs on five hits and five walks in 2 2/3 innings.
Lassiter finished the day 3-for-3 in the two hole with two doubles, two runs, two walks, three RBIs and a stolen base. Cody Stubbs doubled in a pair of runs and lifted a sacrifice fly to drive in three as well. Second baseman Mike Zolk was 2-for-2 with a walk and an RBI.
Senior Bradley Shaban (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) entered the game as a pinch hitter and went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a double. Redshirt junior first baseman Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) hit his 15th double in his return from a brief injury hiatus.
UNC took command early as third baseman Colin Moran delivered an RBI single three batters into the game. Stubbs drove in two with a double Parks Jordan padded the lead with an RBI single to make it 4-0.
The Tar Heels built the lead further to 7-0 with runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Zolk poked an RBI double in the third, Stubbs picked up a sacrifice fly in the fourth and Lassiter singled in a run in the fifth.
After multiple missed opportunities to capitalize on walks, JMU’s offense finally broke through in the seventh. Two walks and a single loaded the bases. Senior outfielder Colby Roberts (Benton, Ark./Benton) pushed across the first Dukes’ run with one of his three walks in the game. Sophomore left fielder Chad Carroll (Oakton, Va./Oakton) made it 7-2 with a sacrifice fly. A walk reloaded the bases and a wild pitch scored a third run. Shaban then delivered a two-run single to close it to 7-5.
After JMU’s scoring eruption, UNC set the table with two walks and made it 9-5 on Lassiter’s two-run double into the corner in right.
JMU and UNC will close the two-game set Wednesday night at 6 p.m. at Boshamer.