CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Luke Drumheller smashed a game-tying home run in the top of the eighth inning, but No. 13 North Carolina responded with two runs in the bottom half of the frame, to edge App State, 4-2, Tuesday.
Trailing 2-1 in the eighth, Drumheller led off the inning and swung at the first pitch thrown by Gage Gillian, launching it over the wall in right-center field for his first home run of the season to knot the score at 2-2.
The Mountaineers (7-12, 1-2) put pressure on the Tar Heels all night, putting at least one runner on base in every inning, and out-hitting UNC 10-7. However, outside of the Drumheller home run, App State was unable to come through with the clutch hits, going just 2-for-23 with runners on base, and 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, stranding 15 on the night.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, North Carolina (18-3, 5-1) went back in front, scoring on an RBI double, and then swiping home on a double steal with runners at the corners.
The Tar Heels took an early lead, tallying a triple to start the ballgame, and followed it up with an RBI double to go ahead, 1-0. Mountaineer starter Jason Cornatzer buckled down after that, picking up a strikeout, and inducing a ground ball double-play to get out of the inning. Cornatzer went four innings, giving up two runs on six hits, he walked one and struck out two.
App State drew even in the third inning. Austin St. Laurent doubled with one out, and Dylan Rogers and Phillip Cole followed with back-to-back walks to load the bases. Hayden Cross then lined an RBI single to center to tie the score at 1-1. Cross finished with two hits, recording his eighth multi-hit game of the season.
North Carolina answered with a run in the bottom of the fourth to take a 2-1 lead, but Cornatzer picked up a strikeout to minimize damage. Cameron Carter followed Cornatzer with 2.1 scoreless innings in relief, striking out two. The Mountaineers again escaped trouble in the sixth inning when Cross threw down to first on a dropped third strike to complete the putout, and St. Laurent fired back home to catch a Tar Heel trying to score on the play.
The Mountaineers embark on their first conference road trip this weekend, when they head to Little Rock for a three-game series with the Trojans. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, with the Sunday finale slated for 1 p.m.
The 2022 App State Baseball season is presented by Chick-fil-A.