updated: 5:35 p.m.
DURHAM -- North Carolina kept its hopes for the ACC Baseball Championship alive Saturday afternoon with a 9-0 win over Wake Forest.
The game that had been suspended by rain in the top of the seventh at 1:55 in the morning was completed after a restart at 4:32 p.m.
For the Tar Heels (45-13) to qualify for Sunday’s 1 p.m. title game against Florida State, they would need for Wake Forest to upset Miami this evening
before UNC meets Virginia in the final game of pool play later tonight.
Patrick Johnson (11-1) pitched six no-hit innings for UNC following the midnight start, striking out eight with two walks. Chris Munnelly took the hill in the afternoon and gave up a clean two-out single to center to Steven Brooks in the seventh to spoil the no-hit attempt.
The Tar Heels outhit the Deacons 10-2. Levi Michael, Jesse Wierzbicki and Greg Holt had all homered for UNC before the early-morning suspension.
Tim Cooney (7-3) went 6 1/3 innings in the loss, which eliminated Wake from contention.
The season will end for the Deacons (25-30) following the Miami game.North Carolina led Wake Forest 5-0 in the top of the 7th inning at 1:55 a.m. this morning – and Tar Heel right-hander Patrick Johnson was in the midst of a no-hitter -- when the tarps were rolled out at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, finally stopping a soaked second day of play in the ACC Baseball Tournament.
Earlier - Rain suspends UNC-Wake game, Johnson's not hitter, at 1:55 a.m
The decision to finish the game today came in the wee hours of the morning – and was a change of heart. Originally, ACC officials said the game would resume Sunday morning , but only if, after today’s games, UNC needed to officially beat Wake to advance to Sunday’s championship game.
As it is, the Tar Heels must complete the victory over the Demon Deacons, have Wake beat the Hurricanes at approximately 6 p.m. today , then have UNC top the Cavaliers at roughly 9:30 p.m., for Carolina to advance to Sunday’s title game.
The Wake-UNC game, originally slated for a 7 p.m. Friday night start, didn’t actually begin until 12:09 a.m. Saturday morning. First, 7 ½ hours of thunderstorms delayed Virginia’s 6-4 victory over Miami, then the Tar Heels and Demon Deacons waited about 25 more minutes for another rainstorm to pass through Durham.
Once the first pitch was thrown, however, it took UNC only eight minutes to score, on an RBI triple from first baseman Jesse Wierzbicki in the top of first inning. That gave the Tar Heels a 1-0 lead.
Then in the fourth inning, UNC designated hitter Greg Holt slammed a two-run shot off the metal awning of the Tobacco Road Sports Bar in left field – waking up any of the couple hundred remaining spectators that might have been inclined to doze off – and also bringing home centerfielder Ben Bunting, who had singled. That gave UNC a 3-0 lead.
In the top of the fifth inning, shortstop Levi Michael smashed a solo home run to push the lead to 4-0; one batter later, Wierzbicki followed suit to make it 5-0.
UNC’s Johnson, 10-1 this season, had eight strikeouts and two walks – although both of those batters were picked off – through six innings. He had faced 18 batters.
Correspondent Mike Potter contributed to this report