North Henderson graduate Zack Gahagan hit his first college home run for the University of North Carolina baseball team in Monday’s nonconference road win at Liberty.
Gahagan is a true freshman for the Tar Heels and a former Citizen-Times All-WNC infielder.
The former Knights standout missed almost his entire senior year with a knee injury. As a junior, he batted a team-high .373 with 16 RBIs, 15 stolen bases and six doubles. Gahagan was part of the 2013 NCPreps.com 2-A all-state team.
More on Monday’s game from UNC:
LYNCHBURG, Va. — Trevor Kelley tossed 5.1 innings of stellar relief and Zack Gahagan hit his first career home run as No. 11 North Carolina beat Liberty 6-4 Monday at Liberty Baseball Stadium. Alex Raburn added three hits for the Tar Heels, who out-hit the Flames 12-3 but needed a five-out save from Trent Thornton to seal the first midweek win of the year.
Carolina (7-3) chased Liberty starter Ashton Perritt (0-2) with six hits over the first two innings, including RBI knocks from freshmen Logan Warmoth and Brian Miller. Gahagan made it 4-2 in the fourth with his first career long ball, a towering shot to left.
Hunter Williams made his first career start on the mound for UNC, both the Mosley, Virginia, lefty lasted just two innings before a leadoff walk in the third ended his night. Carolina summoned Kelley, who was masterful in the longest outing of his career. The senior right-hander immediately got a double play to kick off five straight hitless innings.
Josh Close got the first hit of the night against Kelley with one out in the eighth, and Thornton got the call after a wild pitch and a throwing error made it 6-3. The Charlotte junior coaxed pop outs from Alex Close and Andrew Yacyk to end the inning, but the Flames (6-4) made it interesting in the ninth.
Liberty brought the tying run to the plate with one out, but Thornton struck out Nick Paxton and got Sammy Taormina to fly to left for his third save of the year.
Adrian Chacon added two hits, and Adam Pate tripled and scored twice for Carolina.
UNC will return home to host VCU Wednesday at 3 p.m.