North Carolina tops South 5-4 for CWS berth
Posted June 11, 2013
Updated June 12, 2013
The North Carolina Tar Heels battled to a 5-4 win over South Carolina in game three of the Chapel Hill super regional Tuesday to earn the final spot in the College World Series.
"This one is sweet, this one is very special," said UNC head coach Mike Fox.
An error in the sixth inning led to North Carolina scoring the go-ahead run on a bases-loaded walk.
"In postseason play every mistake is magnified and we made our fair share this weekend," said South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook. "Sometimes you have to tip your hat to the opponent too, they forced some of those errors."
In the bottom of the sixth, an RBI triple by Colin Moran and a throwing error in an attempt to cut down Skye Bolt at second tied the ball game at four. Later in the frame, with the bases loaded and two outs, the Gamecocks pulled reliever Adam Westmoreland for Tyler Webb.
Webb walked the first batter he faced to plate a run to give the Heels the lead.
"North Carolina's a great team we knew they weren't going to go away quietly," said Webb. "I'm disappointed that I walked a guy in but that's baseball."
In the top of the fifth, two errors led to two runs for South Carolina, allowing the Gamecocks to regain their early lead. With runners on second and third, Chaz Frank dropped a routine fly ball that would have ended the inning, but instead allowed both runners to score, giving South Carolina a 3-2 lead.
"We haven't given up all year and I knew that wasn't going to be the deciding factor. We all had Chaz' back," said Thornton.
The Gamecocks extended their lead on a Tanner English RBI double in the sixth.
North Carolina pitching struggled from the start and South Carolina took advantage. Connor Bright doubled to get into scoring position and English singled to send him in for the first score in the top of the second.
Brian Holberton gave the Tar Heels a 2-1 lead on a two-run home run in the bottom of the second.
After a walk, three hits and a run, North Carolina starter Benton Moss (2.1 IP, 3H, 1R, 1BB) was pulled in the third for Trent Thornton. The Gamecocks faced similar troubles on the mound, and were forced to pull starter Jack Wynkoop (2.1 IP, 3H, 2R) for Westmoreland in the third.
Chris McCue came on in relief to start the eighth for North Carolina and Kent Emanuel closed the game, entering after one out in the ninth and throwing two total pitches.
With the win Tuesday UNC ties the school record for wins in a season (57-10). The Heels won 57 games in 2007 and have the opportunity to break the record in College World Series play. North Carolina advances to play North Carolina State Sunday at 3 p.m. in Omaha.
"Every time we play them it's a close game and a lot of fun," said Moran. "I think it's good for the state of North Carolina to both be playing at that stage. It'll be a lot of fun."