CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Zion Williamson made the difference for fifth-ranked Duke in its third matchup with rival North Carolina.

Williamson tipped in his own miss to put the Blue Devils ahead for good, and Duke survived a final-play shot to beat the third-ranked Tar Heels 74-73 on Friday night' in the Atlantic Coast Conference semifinals.

The 6-foot-7, 285-pound freshman -- who barely played in one regular-season loss to UNC and not at all in the second -- finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds for the Blue Devils (28-5).

"He put on his Superman jersey," UNC coach Roy Williams said.

That last tip-in helped Duke survive a classic that went down to the final play.

After freshman RJ Barrett missed two free throws with 12.4 seconds left, UNC pushed downcourt for a final possession. Coby White launched a contested long jumper against Tre Jones, but the ball bounced out as Nassir Little crashed the glass for a tip attempt as the horn sounded.

That sent Duke's bench into celebration and leaving a disappointed White crouching at midcourt in an arena filled with a buzzing instate crowd.

Cameron Johnson had 23 points for the Tar Heels (27-6), but he also missed a stepback 3-pointer for the lead that set up Barrett's missed free throws.

North Carolina led by 13 in the first half and 71-67 with less than three minutes left but couldn't hold on. The Tar Heels also went ahead 73-72 on Little's dunk with 48 seconds left, only to see Williamson respond by tipping in his own miss in the paint to go back in front.

The Tar Heels shot just 40 percent, including 4 of 27 from 3-point range, against Duke's aggressive defense that played tough after UNC landed an early flurry for the lead.

Barrett finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in a matchup of two heavyweights contending for top seeds in the NCAA Tournament. They both looked the part, too -- down to Duke's final punch that finally secured a ticket to the tournament final.

"I mean it was tough watching the first two (Duke-UNC) games, wishing I could go to war with them," said Williamson, who was hurt in the opening minute of the first meeting Feb. 20. "The rivalry lived up to what it was expected to be."


Pitchers' Duel Ends in Panthers' Favor

BOONE, N.C. — Georgia State edged Appalachian State 2-0 in a pitchers' duel Friday between Will Sprinkle and Hunter Gaddis, a Preseason All-American.

In the Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams, the visiting Panthers pushed across single runs in the third and fifth innings against Sprinkle, who battled through seven innings. He allowed two runs on seven hits while stranding eight baserunners, and Kaleb Bowman had two strikeouts in two scoreless innings.

Gaddis struck out 10 batters and allowed four hits in eight innings before Joseph Brandon picked up the save by allowing one hit in a scoreless ninth. According to the @AppStSportsData account, Riley Smith (2-for-3) had an exit velocity of 106 mph on a single over the third baseman's head in that inning.

App State's hits off Gaddis were a first-inning infield single by Alex Leshock (who reached base twice), Bailey Welch's first-inning single that produced one out on runner interference, Smith's leadoff single off the third baseman's glove in the second inning and Luke Drumheller's sharp single to center in the bottom of the eighth inning.

That two-out hit, coupled with a one-out walk to Luke Allison, put the tying run on base against Gaddis. A running catch on a line drive to shallow right field ended the inning and App State's best chance to score.

Georgia State had two runners on with one out in the second inning when Sprinkle induced consecutive groundouts, and a leadoff single in the third inning came around to score thanks to a stolen base, sacrifice bunt and RBI groundout from Jake Corso.

After a perfect fourth inning from Sprinkle, Luke Leonard doubled to begin the fifth and advanced on a sacrifice bunt. He scored on an RBI single from Griffin Cheney.

The Panthers (6-12, 1-0) were held scoreless in the sixth even though a single, error and sacrifice bunt put two runners in scoring position with one away. Allison's defense on a slow chopper in front of third and a pop-up to Welch at second erased that threat.

Allison made several strong plays at third base for the Mountaineers (6-10, 0-1), and Bowman alertly got an out on a body-smashing comebacker to the mound with an exit velocity of 102 mph.

The conference series continues Saturday at 1 p.m. with App State's Tyler Tuthill (3-1) and Georgia State's Jake Rogers (1-2) scheduled to pitch.

Single-game tickets can be purchased online by clicking HERE, and the game will be shown on AppVision.

 

No. 24 Duke Falls to No. 13 Louisville Friday, 8-3

DURHAM, N.C. – A solid starting pitching performance from No. 13 Louisville’s Reid Detmers paced the Cardinals past No. 24 Duke 8-3 on Friday inside Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Detmers, who entered the game with 23.1 consecutive scoreless innings, tossed six frames in limiting the Blue Devils to one run on six scattered hits.

The Cardinals (14-4, 3-1 ACC) extended their winning streak over the Blue Devils (12-6, 2-2 ACC) to four consecutive meetings. Senior Kennie Taylor and sophomore Chris Crabtree led Duke’s offense, combining for five hits, four doubles, two runs batted in and two scored. Of the Blue Devils’ 10 hits Friday night, six were doubles.

Detmers (4-0) got the win for Louisville after fanning nine, hitting one and allowing a walk. He retired his final six batters faced and surrendered just five base runners in his last five innings. Garrett Schmeltz relieved and recorded two outs, allowing two runs on three hits, all doubles, and a strikeout. Jack Perkins covered the remaining 2.1 frames, fanning four, giving up one hit and plunking one.

Duke junior Graeme Stinson took the loss (2-2), lasting four innings and surrendering four runs on six hits, two walks and one hit by pitch, while fanning three. Sophomore Matt Dockman covered the next three frames, yielding four runs, two earned, on six hits and a pair of strikeouts. Junior Eli Herrick lasted the final two innings, allowing one hit, striking out three and walking one.

Louisville wasted little time getting on the scoreboard, taking a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. Jake Snider led off the contest being hit by a pitch. After a fly out to center field, Logan Wyatt walked to put runners on first and second. Snider stole second with Danny Oriente batting. Stinson got Oriente swinging, but gave up a two-out double to left by Jared Poland that brought in Snider. An infield single from Drew Campbell plated Wyatt for the two-run cushion. A walk to Henry Davis loaded the bases before Poland scored on a wild pitch. Stinson avoided further damage with a groundout that ended the frame.

Duke answered immediately with a run in the bottom of the first to make it a 3-1 contest. Crabtree and Taylor started Duke’s half of the frame with consecutive doubles to left with Taylor’s driving in his team-leading 19th run of the campaign. A fielding error allowed sophomore Michael Rothenberg to reach first, but Detmers rebounded with a double play groundball and fly out to close the threat.

The Cardinals got the run back in the top of the third for a 4-1 advantage. Wyatt led off with a single and moved to second on a groundout. After a lineout to left, Campbell doubled to right to drive in Wyatt.

In the top of the fifth, Louisville pushed across another run to go ahead 5-1. Oriente and Poland started the frame with consecutive singles that put them on first and second. A failed pickoff attempt by Dockman had him throw the ball into center field, moving Oriente to third and Poland to second. Oriente came home on a Davis groundout before Dockman ended the inning with a whiff.

Louisville added two more in the top of the sixth for a 7-1 lead. Ethan Stringer led off with a home run to left for a 6-1 advantage. After a strikeout, Tyler Fitzgerald and Wyatt singled consecutively to land on first and second. With Oriente at the plate, Fitzgerald stole third and came home as Rothenberg’s throw sailed into left field. Dockman bounced back with a groundout and pop out to close the frame.

Davis made it an 8-1 Louisville lead in the top of the seventh with a one-out solo home run to center field.

Duke scratched back on the board in the bottom of the seventh with two runs to make it an 8-3 affair. Junior Chase Cheek doubled to center to lead off the inning and scored on Crabtree’s second double of the contest. Schmeltz got a fly out and strikeout before freshman Rudy Maxwell punched a double down the first-base line to drive in Crabtree. A strikeout ended the inning.

The Blue Devils had one base runner in the eighth and another in the ninth, but could do no damage.

Duke looks to even the series Saturday with a 1 p.m. first pitch from Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Sophomore Brice Jarvis (2-0) get the ball for the Blue Devils while Nick Bennett (3-0) is Louisville’s scheduled starter.

For more information on Duke baseball, follow the Blue Devils on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by searching for “DukeBaseball”. You can also find all-access coverage of all Duke athletic programs on SnapChat by searching for “dukeathletics”.


Heels Fall To Miami In Game One, 6-4

Chapel Hill – No. 8 North Carolina couldn't overcome Miami's four-run sixth inning as the Tar Heels dropped Friday night's series opener against the Hurricanes, 6-4, at Boshamer Stadium.

Aaron Sabato went 2-4 with a home run for Carolina, while Ben Casparius and Caden O'Brien worked a combined 3.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Starter Gianluca Dalatri threw five innings, surrendering three earned runs and striking out six.

Key Moments

Miami got the scoring started in the top of the fourth inning against Tar Heel starter Gianluca Dalatri. With runners on first and second, Raymond Gil hit a ball off the top of the left field wall to drive in the first run of the game. After a sacrifice fly in the next at-bat, it was 2-0 Hurricanes.
Aaron Sabato cut the Miami lead in half in the bottom of the inning. He hit a long fly ball to left-center over the fence, a 415-foot solo shot. His third home run of his freshman campaign made it 2-1 Miami.
Brandon Martorano reached on a throwing error by the Miami shortstop to start the bottom of the fifth, then moved to second on a wild pitch. After Dylan Harris advanced him on a grounder to the right side, Michael Busch poked a soft liner into left that got just under the glove of the diving left fielder, tying the game at two.
Miami tacked on a four-spot in the top of the sixth inning against freshman Will Sandy and Ben Casparius. The Hurricanes pushed across runs on a passed ball, walk, fielder's choice and a sacrifice fly. Casparius ultimately worked out of a jam and limited the damage.
Carolina got two runs back in the bottom half of the inning after loading the bases. Both Danny Serretti and Jackson Hesterlee picked up RBIs on groundouts, cutting the Miami lead to 6-4.
UNC had runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the eighth, but Martorano and Dylan Harris both struck out to end the inning.

Notables
Dylan Harris extended his reached-base streak to 15 games, a team high.
Sabato's third home run of the season went 415 feet, the longest of the season. It was 105 miles per hour off the bat.
Dalatri's final line: 5 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K.


Pitcher Records
Win: Miami, Evan McKendry (4-0)
Loss: Gianluca Dalatri (1-1)


UP NEXT

Game two of the series against Miami is set for Saturday at 3:00 p.m. at Boshamer Stadium.

Social Media
For all the latest on Carolina Baseball, be sure to follow the team at @DiamondHeels on Twitter and @CarolinaBaseball on Instagram.