June 21, 2008
Grand Ending for Federowicz,
North Carolina uses ninth-inning grand slam
to eliminate LSU
A Hitting Machine
By Phil Stanton
OMAHA, Neb. – It was drama on college
baseball’s grandest stage.
Junior Tim Federowicz
(left, photo courtesy of UNC Media Relations) crushed a grand slam to
left with two outs in the top of the ninth to give No. 2 North
Carolina a 7-3 victory over No. 7 LSU at the 2008 College World
Series in front of a record single-session crowd of 30,422 at
The Tar Heels (53-13) will face Fresno State on
Saturday at 7 p.m. ET and must beat the Bulldogs twice in
consecutive days to reach the Championship Series. The Tigers
ended their season with a 49-19-1 mark.
“I felt we were very fortunate to win tonight,”
said UNC head coach Mike Fox. “It was a terrific game. Their two
pitchers were really outstanding for them, [Jared] Bradford and
[Louis] Coleman. We just hung around. I think tonight you saw
why we led the nation in earned run average. We ran our five
best guys out there and it would have been a shame if we’d have
lost only giving up four hits, but sometimes that’s the nature
of the game. We finally hit a mistake. They didn’t make very
many mistakes on the mound. The slider backed up on Coleman and
fortunately Timmy put a good swing on it.”
With one out in the ninth and the score tied at
3-3, Ryan Graepel hit a 1-2
pitch the other way to the right-center gap for a double. Dustin
Ackley, who was 4 for 4, was intentionally walked. A wild pitch
moved both runners into scoring position. Coleman fanned
pinch-hitter Mark Fleury for the second out. Tim Fedroff,
hitting over .400, was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Federowicz was 1 for 11 in the CWS before hitting his fifth home
run and his first career grand slam.
“It was a great feeling getting up there with
the bases loaded in the College World Series,” Federowicz said,
“having a chance to put us ahead going into the bottom of the
ninth. I struck out the at-bat before. I knew he was going to
bring the slider and I was able to catch one.”
Alex White (12-3) pitched the final two innings
for UNC to earn the win. He worked out of a huge jam in the
eighth. With one out, he walked Micah Gibbs and Matt Clark to
load the bases. He then got a popout and a groundout to end the
threat. White allowed a one-out single in the ninth, but got a
double play to end the contest.
North Carolina got a pair of runs in the top of
the first on Thursday evening before the game was suspended for
inclement weather and concluded on Friday. Ackley led off with a
base hit and scored on a double by Fedroff. Federowicz and Kyle
Seager were hit by pitches and Chad Flack walked to bring in
Fedroff with the second run. After one pitch to Garrett Gore,
the game was suspended. Bradford (right, photo courtesy of LSU
Media Relations) replaced Blake Martin on
the mound for LSU on Friday. On his second pitch, he got Gore to
ground into a double play to end the first.
LSU scored in the second as Gibbs drew a leadoff
walk and scored on a base hit by D.J. LeMahieu to pull the
Tigers to within one at 2-1.
The game was delayed again in the top of the
third at 6:38 p.m. CT for one hour and 27 minutes as play was
resumed at 8:05 p.m. CT.
LSU let a scoring chance slip away in the third.
Ryan Schimpf walked and was forced out at second on a bunt by
Michael Hollander. Jared Mitchell reached on a error, moving
Hollander to second. Blake Dean flew out to Kyle Shelton in
left, whose strong throw to second doubled up Hollander to end
The Tar Heels got a run back in the fifth as
Graepel drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a single by
Ackley, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Shelton and
came home on a fielder’s choice by Federowicz to make it 3-1.
The Tigers tied it in the bottom of the sixth as
Clark hit his 28th homer, the top mark in Division I, with Gibbs
aboard to even the contest at 3-3.
Ackley tied his career best with four hits.
Federowicz drove in five for the Tar Heels.
Five UNC hurlers held LSU to four hits, its
lowest total since getting four hits on April 12 in a 7-1 loss
at Ole Miss. Three runs was the lowest output in the past 21
games for the Tigers.
“My overwhelming emotion is I hurt very badly
for my kids,” said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri. “They gave it
everything that they had. They left it all out on the field and
just came up a little bit short tonight. I guess you could say
we ran out of miracles.”