June 16, 2008


Tar Heels Torture Tigers with 8-4 Victory

UNC bangs out 17 hits, including 15 singles

No Sophomore Slump

Tamed Tigers

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


OMAHA, Neb. – Early on, it was dinks vs. dingers, base hits vs. bombs.


Of the Tar Heel’s 17 hits, 15 were singles, as No. 2 North Carolina defeated No. 7 LSU 8-4 in the final first-round game of the 2008 College World Series in front of 22,239 fans at Rosenblatt Stadium.


The Tigers (48-18-1) will face Rice on Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET in an elimination game. The Tar Heels (52-12) meet Fresno State in a winners’ bracket game on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.


“It’s always a good feeling to get the first win,” said UNC head coach Mike Fox. “Tonight was typical of our team, a team effort. We singled them to death there for a while. It was big that we respond after the first inning, get some runs and take some pressure off. We knew it was going to be important for us to not give up the big inning. It was a total team effort for us and we’re certainly happy with the win.”


LSU got its first two runs via the long ball. Michael Hollander led off the game with his sixth homer and Matt Clark started the second with his national-best 27th home run.


UNC’s first 10 hits were singles. The Tar Heels got leadoff singles in each of the first four innings. Dustin Ackley hit an infield chopper for a base hit, Kyle Shelton singled to right and Tim Fedroff reached on a bunt to first to load the bases with no outs. A walk to Tim Federowicz, a single by Kyle Seager and a sacrifice fly by Chad Flack gave the Tar Heels a 3-1 lead.


“I gave up the first home run,” said UNC starter Alex White. “It’s early, I just had to keep pitching and get the next three guys out. Scoring three runs in the bottom of the first was probably the biggest key for us tonight, proving that that one run wasn’t going to beat us. It gave me great confidence to continue on in the game.”


That bottom of the first hurt the Tigers.


 “It was a very frustrating game for us,” said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri. “Mike got us off to a great start with the home run. In their first, it was a series of really tough breaks for us that got us in a hole.”


Fedroff had a base hit and scored in a two-run third as UNC led 5-2. Ryan Graepel singled and scored in the fourth for a 6-2 UNC advantage.


Seager mixed it up with a leadoff double in the fifth and came home on a base hit by Garrett Gore to push the Tar Heel lead to 7-2.


The Tigers tried to rally in the sixth, using two walks and a wild pitch to put a pair in scoring position with one out. But UNC starter Alex White (11-3) got a come-backer to the mound and a popout to short to end the threat.


Seager had a leadoff single in the seventh and scored on a double by Sheldon Williams to make it 8-2.


UNC got its leadoff hitter on in six of its eight at-bats and five of them scored.


“It’s important for us to get leadoff guys on,” Fox said. “Any time you put the pitcher in the set, it changes his rhythm. Most pitchers, especially starters, would prefer to pitch out of the windup. We had a lead, so we tried to be aggressive.”


LSU did put two on the board in the top of the eighth and could have had more, if not for a missed call by the first base umpire. Hollander singled and White went 2-0 to end the night for White (7.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K). Brian Moran came on and gave up singles to Jared Mitchell and Blake Dean to load the bases. Micah Gibbs drew a walk to force in a run. Moran struck out Clark for the first out. Rob Wooten relieved Moran and surrendered a base hit to D.J. LeMahieu to make it an 8-4 game. Leon Landry hit a bouncer up the middle that Graepel fielded. He stepped on second, but Landry beat the relay throw. First base umpire Jack Cox called Landry out, completing the double play and ending the inning.


The Tigers put two on in the ninth, but Wooten got a groundout to end the game and record his fifth save.


“They outpitched us tonight,” Mainieri said. “I think that was the main key to the game. We need to pitch better on Tuesday against Rice and do a lot of other things a little bit better.”


Williams was one of four Tar Heels with three hits, He also drove in three. Fedroff and Seager had three hits and two runs each. Graepel also finished with three hits and a run.


Hollander went 3 for 5 for the Tigers with two runs and an RBI.