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North Carolina clinches series from Florida State due to SIX ’Nole errors

The defense/manager ruined a gem from Tyler Holton...such a shame.

Ryals Lee

This was a terrible and embarrassing loss. There’s zero excuse for ever committing six errors in a game, but the reasoning might be even worse. After Taylor Walls started and played the 1st inning, he was taken out of the game for Nick Derr, with Matt Henderson moving from 2B to SS. There was talk of head coach Mike Martin and Walls having a heated discussion last night, and the latter didn’t show any signs of injury during his brief playing time tonight, so until I hear otherwise, I’m going to assume 11 yanked his starting shortstop to teach him a lesson.

And, as I was typing, this came from Twitter (no idea what to make of it):

Tyler Holton should have been the story. The sophomore southpaw threw 7 no-hit innings, before being lifted after walking the leadoff hitter in the 8th due to a heavy workload (109 pitches). However, the defense had already committed 4 errors at that point (two of them were Henderson’s at shortstop). If it hadn’t been for the horrible miscues, it’s entirely possible Holton throws a complete-game no-hitter, evening the series for Florida State.

When Drew Carlton entered the game for Holton, FSU held a 2-0 lead. He should’ve gotten a relatively routine 2-inning save and a combined no-hitter with Holton, but the ’Noles weren’t done making errors. By this time, Martin had moved Tyler Daughtry to short, while inserting Carlton into the DH role (more on that in a bit). After a leadoff walk, Daughtry made an error, giving UNC runners on 1st and 3rd with no one out (worst case scenario should’ve been 1 out, 1 runner on). Then, the junior righty got a flyout to center (should’ve been 2nd out, or maybe even game over), which resulted in the first unearned run of the 9th, cutting the lead to 2-1. The next Tar Heels’ hitter grounded out to 1B (at this point, the game would’ve been over no matter what). With 2 outs in the 9th, Michael Busch got UNC’s first hit of the game, tying the game.

The bottom half of the inning was almost as bizarre. JC Flowers and Matt Henderson sandwiched walks around a Daughtry strikeout, so the Seminoles had runners at 1st and 2nd with only one out, bringing up the leadoff hitter (as I mentioned earlier, it was Carlton in this spot, due to all the substitutions). Even though the bench is clearly limited, especially with Dylan Busby’s injury, you have to give one of the reserves the call here (perhaps Hank Truluck, Steven Wells, or Kyle Cavanaugh). Anyone except your closer, right? For some reason, 11 stuck with Carlton, even though his stopper had already thrown two innings, you have other bullpen arms, and you can’t give away outs in that situation. Naturally, Carlton grounded out, before Jackson Lueck grounded out to end the frame (the ’Noles were a paltry 1-15 with runners on base).

Neither team could do anything in the 10th, but for some reason, Martin continued to run Carlton out there in the 11th, even though he had already thrown 45 pitches (FSU’s closer ended the game throwing 72 pitches, and he allowed all 5 runs, even though none of them were earned). North Carolina scored 3 runs on 3 hits, and you guessed it—another error (Daughtry’s second) really aided the cause, as well.

In the end, UNC beat FSU 5-2 in 11 innings, but this never should’ve been the case. When this team hits well, they struggle to pitch. When they get another gem from their ace (Saturday starter), they find a way to lose. And some of the decisions continue to baffle, also.

It sure will be interesting to see where the season goes from here. Stay tuned (if your heart/body can take any more). The series concludes Sunday at 12:30 pm.