UNC, Gardner-Webb have benches-clearing altercation after strikeout celebration
Tensions were high between players and coaches alike during a college baseball game between the UNC Tar Heels and Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs on Wednesday night.
The North Carolina rivals got into a bit of a scuffle when Gardner-Webb pitcher Grant Vera celebrated a bit too hard for UNC infielder Jackson Van De Brake’s liking.
Vera emphatically pumped his fist and looked like he was screaming in the direction of Van De Brake, who started to go back at him. If it wasn’t for the umpire holding the UNC leadoff hitter back, things might have gotten ugly.
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As we’ve seen plenty in baseball, both benches cleared when the screaming match began. When the dust settled and the players were heading back to their respective dugouts, opposing coaches began to get into it, and it only escalated the situation again.
Umpires, once again, got in the middle of the verbal altercation and nothing got physical in the end.
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It was a fun battle to watch, Gardner-Webb scored three in the top of the fourth inning and one more in the seventh to retake their lead at 4-3.
But there were costly errors in the bottom of the eighth that allowed the Tar Heels to take the victory home. Reece Holbrook reached on a throwing error with the bases loaded, which allowed the tying run to score.
Then, pitcher Phil Fox balked, allowing the game-winning run to come across the plate.
When the final out was made by closer Matt Poston, a strikeout on Peter Capobianco, the UNC crowd went wild and catcher Tomas Frick gave a little scream and look at Capobianco as he made his way to the mound.
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UNC moved to 30-17 on the season overall, and Gardner-Webb is now 27-20 on the year.