CHAPEL HILL — It was only one swing but it was all that mattered Wednesday for the Gardner-Webb University baseball team.
Eric Jones belted a solo home run to lead off the second inning and GWU’s pitching staff lifted the host Tar Heels to only five singles throughout the contest as the Runnin’ Bulldogs earned a 1-0 shutout win Wednesday at Boshamer Stadium.
Gardner-Webb (11-7) earned its second win of the 2018 season over an Atlantic Coast Conference foe — 8-4 over Wake Forest on February 18 — and the second win in program history over North Carolina (9-8), the first taking place six years to the day, 7-4 win in 2012.
The win also snapped a four-game losing skid for the Diamond ‘Dogs.
Jones gave the Diamond ‘Dogs the early 1-0 lead, sending a 0-1 pitch from UNC starter Joey Lancellotti past the left field wall in the top of the second. It was Jones’ second blast of the season.
GWU wouldn’t have another base runner until the fourth inning, when Justin Kunz drew a walk to lead off the frame, but the next three GWU batters were retired.
North Carolina had a pair of base hits in the bottom half of the fourth, with both coming with two outs. Mason Fox got out of the inning unscathed on a fly out to left.
The Tar Heels again looked to score in the bottom of the seventh. Brandon Martorano drew a four-pitch walk from reliever Langdon Wilson, and Cody Roberts singled through the right side with two outs.
GWU would go to its bullpen once again, bringing in Aaron Stewart to face Michael Busch, who hit a grounder back to Stewart to end the threat.
Jarrett Thompson entered the game for GWU in the eighth and struck out the side.
In the ninth, Thompson allowed an infield single with one man out, but then got a fly ball to center and a strikeout to close it.
Fox (2-1) earned the win on the mound for the Diamond ‘Dogs, scattering three base hits with one strikeout in five innings. After the stints by Wilson and Stewart, Thompson earned his third save of 2018. In the final two innings he allowed one hit and struck out four.
Lancellotti (0-2) was saddled with the loss, tossing the first 2.1 innings while giving up one run on one base hit with a pair of strikeouts. Caden O’Brien (1.1 IP, 1K), Cooper Criswell (4.1 IP, 2 H, 4K) and Josh Hiatt (1.0 IP, 2 K) each made relief appearances for UNC.
GWU returns home this weekend for Big South action, opening a three-game set with Liberty at 6 p.m. Friday.