April 28, 2008


CBI Live
Extra-inning win for No. 3 UNC over No. 2 FSU


By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


CARY, N.C. – This one had the feel of a post-season game.


No. 2 Florida State and No. 3 North Carolina battled for 10 innings before a walk to UNC’s Mark Fleury with the bases loaded ended a 2-1 ACC contest Sunday afternoon in front of 3,218 fans at Cary’s USA Baseball National Training Complex.


“It doesn’t get much better than that,” said UNC head coach Mike Fox, “especially since we came out on the winning side, just barely. I think [it was] two really good teams who really wanted to win and played hard, some big plays on both ends and we were fortunate to get a couple there at the end and squeak it out.”


The Tar Heels (18-5, 38-8) took two out of three over the weekend from the Seminoles (19-5, 35-7).


FSU starter Elih Villanueva (4-2) was superb in suffering the loss, going nine innings and issuing a four-pitch leadoff walk in the 10th to Chad Flack, his lone free pass of the contest. He gave up two hits and struck out three.


“I was ready to swing,” Flack said. “At first I was taking. He came out for his 10th inning and you’ve got to make a guy throw strikes. Once he fell behind, I was looking for that one pitch and I didn’t get it. I’ve got the best RBI guy in the nation behind me and so on down our lineup. Anybody can get the big hit at any time. My job was to get on base right there luckily I did.”


Following Flack’s walk, Kyle Seager ripped a 2-0 pitch from reliever John Gast down the right field line for a base hit that sent Flack to third.


“We had a couple plays on,” Seager said. “He [Fox] gave me one pitch to swing, then we were going to bunt him across. He got behind 2-0 and he was forced to throw a strike. He threw a pretty good strike and I put a pretty good swing on it.”


Tim Federowicz was walked intentionally to load the bases. Fleury looked at four outside the strike zone to force in Flack with the game-winner.


FSU broke the scoreless tie with a run in the top of the fifth as Mike McGee reached second on an error and scored on a double by Stephen Cardullo. The Seminoles could have gotten more, but Buster Posey hit into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded to halt the threat.


Villanueva held the Tar Heels hitless for six innings and faced the minimum until Dustin Ackley’s leadoff single to right to lead off the seventh. Kyle Shelton tried to sacrifice, but Ackley was forced out at second. Following a strikeout, Flack was hit by a pitch to move Shelton to second. Seager delivered a base hit to center that brought Shelton home with the tying run.


The Seminoles put a rally together in the eighth as back-to-back singles by Jason Stidham and Posey with one out put runners on the corners. But reliever Brian Moran got Jack Rye to ground into an inning-ending double play to keep the game deadlocked.


Starter Matt Harvey pitched 4.2 innings for the Tar Heels with one hit, no earned runs, six walks and five strikeouts. The lefty Moran was outstanding in relief. He worked a career-high 3.1 innings with two hits, no runs, no walks and one strikeout. Rob Wooten (3-1) got the win, his second of the series. He went two innings with one hit and one walk.


Fox was impressed with his hurlers.


“For our pitchers to do what they did against them after all the hits and runs we gave up yesterday, only giving them four hits today, is a credit to our three pitchers,” Fox said. “They were sensational.”


Notes – Six UNC seniors were recognized prior to their final home conference game: Flack, Shelton, Wooten, Mike Facchinei, Tyler Trice and Seth Williams. They led the Tar Heels to three NCAA appearances, two College World Series runner-up finishes and 190 wins compared to 58 losses over the past four seasons.