Posted: 9:05 p.m. Sunday, June 9, 2013
By Brian Barbour
There really isn't much to say about this one and it is games like this that make is a nice thing the Super Regional is a best-of-three series. UNC did absolutely nothing right today as a second straight starter was chased early. Meanwhile the offense simply couldn't make much happen against one of the Gamecocks' better pitchers. The result was an 8-0 blowout with attention turning to a decisive Game Three.
While Kent Emanuel clearly struggled, partly because he had the extra relief appearance five days prior, this was not the case with Johnson. It had been six days since he faced one batter for six pitches on Monday night and his last start, an 89 pitch outing, was a week ago. It was expected Johnson would continue to pitch as well as he had in his previous postseason stints. Unfortunately it didn't go that way though at first blush Johnson looked decent. He retired the first two batters he saw and his control appeared to be in order. Then Johnson gave up a single to Joey Pankake on a 1-2 pitch and walked LB Dantzler on five pitches. Johnson did induce a fly out to end the inning but it was clear from that point Johnson didn't have it and was ultimately yanked after giving up five runs in the 2nd.
As it turns out, one run would have been enough since the Heels couldn't do much at the plate. UNC only managed four hits on the day, manged a single walk and went very quietly. South Carolina's Jordan Montgomery was very efficient tossing a shutout with 71 strikes on 121 pitches. Of course UNC did their part to help with a fair amount of impatience at the plate.
Now comes another Monday elimination game for the Tar Heels. It should be noted UNC has not lost two straight games all season. Now would be a great time to keep that streak rolling and a really awful time to have it broken.