June 21, 2008


Grand Ending for Federowicz, Tar Heels

North Carolina uses ninth-inning grand slam to eliminate LSU

               A Hitting Machine

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


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 Rosenblatt Stadium.


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 frame.


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.”