Triangle teams meet in CWS in elimination game
Posted June 19, 2013
Updated June 20, 2013
The University of North Carolina Tar Heels, No. 1 seed in the College World Series, will face neighboring North Carolina State University Thursday in an elimination game at 8:00 p.m. ET (ESPN) at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. The game will be broadcast on 620 AM The Buzz starting at 7:55 p.m.
NC State (50-15, 19-10) has outscored North Carolina, 17-13, in the four games the teams have played this season. The season series is tied at two, and the winner will not only survive elimination but gain in-state bragging rights.
The Tar Heels eliminated Louisiana State University, 4-2, Tuesday behind a stellar pitching performance from freshman right-hander Trent Thornton. North Carolina started out strong offensively with a two-run home run by junior Brian Holberton in the first inning, and Colin Moran hit the eventual game-winning RBI in the third inning. Thornton allowed seven hits and two runs over seven innings on 114 pitches. In their first CWS appearance since winning the 2009 championship, LSU (57-11, 23-7) failed to win a game in Omaha.
The UCLA Bruins edged the Wolfpack, 2-1, Tuesday after a two-run fifth inning and an outstanding pitching performance by starter Nick Vander Tuig and closer David Berg. Berg earned his NCAA record-tying 23rd save of the season and Vander Tuig improved to 13-4. UCLA’s Brenton Allen scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch by NC State’s reliever Grant Sasser in the fifth. The Wolfpack’s bullpen, Grant Sasser and Josh Easley, did not allow a run in their combined 4 2/3 innings of work.
The Wolfpack have won 50 games for the first time in their program’s history.
North Carolina (58-11, 21-7) has not lost consecutive games all season. The Tar Heels are 11-0 after a loss and have outscored opponents, 85-30. They are looking to become the second team in school history (the other came in 1953) to not suffer back-to-back losses in a season.
Junior Hobbs Johnson will take the mound for North Carolina Thursday. The left-hander has a 4-1 record and an ERA of 2.62 with an impressive .200 opponent batting average in 79 innings. Johnson did not give up a home run all season.
The Wolfpack will go with freshman Brad Stone. The left-handed pitcher has a 6-3 record with an ERA of 5.28. In 58 innings pitched Stone has struck out 59 batters, allowed 34 earned runs and 54 hits.
The winner will face UCLA (46-17, 21-9) Friday at 8:00 p.m. ET and would have to win two straight against the Bruins to advance to the championship series. If necessary the second game against UCLA is scheduled for Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET in Omaha.