Long Beach State eliminates Tar Heels, 12-5
Posted June 1
Updated June 2
Gainesville, Fla. — North Carolina (35-27) saw its season come to an end with a 12-5 loss to Long Beach State Monday afternoon at McKethan Stadium.
The teams managed to get through six-plus innings Sunday before a second prolonged rain delay forced the teams to call it a night. Long Beach State (34-25) had a 5-4 lead in the seventh when play resumed Monday at noon.
The Dirtbags wasted no time against Carolina reliever Spencer Trayner, executing a double steal on the first pitch Monday and loading the bases with an intentional walk to Richard Prigatano. Michael Hill, whose solo home run gave LBSU the 5-4 lead, singled through the right side to push the Long Beach lead to 7-4.
Benton Moss came on for UNC and got out of the inning and the Tar Heels immediately responded with a run in the bottom of the seventh on a Tyler Ramirez double. But LBSU closer Ty Provencher struck out Adam Pate to strand the tying runs on base before the Dirtbags broke it open in the ninth.
Zengel's three-hit day in his final game as a Tar Heel led a 13-hit attack, with Bolt, Ramirez, Alex Raburn and Landon Lassiter each chipping in two. Henry Sisson got the final two outs in the ninth for the Carolina bullpen, which figures to return the bulk of its arms - including first-team All-ACC righty Reilly Hovis - in 2014.
Michael Russell, who played despite a nasty cut above the eye from a fastball to the head against Florida, finished his junior season with a team-leading .339 batting average as well as four homers and 20 doubles.
Long Beach State scored two runs in the top of the first on an Ino Patron two-run home run. Patron later added a two-run single in the third before the first rain delay halted play.
UNC tied the game at two in the first on a Sky Bolt home run that brought Landon Lassiter home. UNC scored again in the second on a squeeze bunt by Korey Dunbar and tied the game at 4 in the third on a Ramirez single that plated Bolt.
After a nearly three hour rain delay in the fourth, Long Beach State pulled ahead in the sixth on a solo home run by Michael Hill.
The game, which started just after 1 p.m. Eastern, went to a second rain delay at 6:51 p.m. The call to move the game to Monday came just after 9 p.m.
Long Beach State advances to face College of Charleston in the regional final later in the day Monday.