June 22, 2008
Flack Attack Keeps Tar Heels
North Carolina to face Fresno State Sunday
for spot in Championship Series
By Phil Stanton
OMAHA, Neb. – It was another game-winning
homer for the Heels.
failing to get down a sacrifice bunt, Chad Flack (left, photo
courtesy of UNC Media Relations) crushed a 3-2 pitch well over
the wall in left for a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth
to give No. 2 North Carolina a 4-3 victory over Fresno State in
the 2008 College World Series in front of 18,611 fans at
The Tar Heels (54-13) and Bulldogs (44-30) will
play again on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET for a spot in the Championship
Series against Georgia.
“Wow,” said UNC head coach Mike Fox. “I really
don’t know what to say. I know Chad Flack is the clutchest
player I’ll ever be fortunate enough to coach. He’s proven that
time and time again for us.”
It was the second straight game won by the Tar
Heels with a home run in their final at-bat. Tim Federowicz
smacked a grand slam in the top of the ninth Friday to defeat
With UNC trailing 3-2, Kyle Seager led off the
bottom of the eighth with a double to right center, bringing
Flack to the plate.
“The beginning of the at-bat, Coach had given me
the bunt,” Flack said. “My job in that situation was to get
Seager to third. I didn’t get it down the first pitch. He threw
me some balls and Coach gave me the green light to swing. I just
missed the 3-1 pitch. I was looking 3-2 just to make sure I did
my job to get Seager over and he happened to leave one over the
plate for me.”
It was Flack’s seventh home run and first in this
UNC right-hander Alex White (13-3) entered with
the bases loaded and one away in the seventh. He fanned two with
fastballs clocked in the mid-90s to end the threat.
“It’s fun coming into that situation,” White
said. “Bases loaded, you have to throw strikes. Tonight I just
went with the fastball and it worked.”
White retired all eight batters he faced,
including five by strikeout. In the top of the ninth, he got a
groundout and a pair of punchouts to earn his third win in the
2008 College World Series, making him just the ninth hurler to
register three wins in one series.
After the start of the game was delayed 48
minutes due to rain, Fresno State scored in the top of the first.
Danny Muno drew a leadoff walk and was forced at second on a
fielder’s choice by Gavin Hedstrom, who moved to second on a
single by Erik Wetzel and came home on a base hit by Steve
Susdorf to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.
North Carolina had two base-runners in each of
the first three innings, but failed to score. Dustin Ackley led
off the third with a base hit and moved to second on a one-out
single by Tim Fedroff. Federowicz hit a foul popup on which FS
first baseman Alan Ahmady made a sliding catch in front of the
tarp. Ackley tagged at second and tried to advance to third, but
was thrown out by Ahmady for a double play.
The Bulldogs increased their lead in the fourth.
Ahmady had a two-out single and came home on Tommy Mendonca’s
17th homer to give Fresno State a 3-0 advantage.
The Tar Heels broke through in the bottom of the
frame. Flack, Garrett Gore and Seth Williams had consecutive
one-out singles to produce a run. After a walk to Ryan Graepel
loaded the bases, Ackley hit into a fielder’s choice that scored
Gore to make it a 3-2 contest.
UNC starter Matt Harvey went five innings with
five hits, three runs, one walk and five strikeouts. It was his
second consecutive start, as he went two innings on Friday
against LSU. Rob Wooten, Brian Moran and White combined to pitch
four scoreless innings with two hits, three walks and six
“Our pitching tonight was the story of the game,”
Fox said. “Matt gave us exactly what we needed, gave us five
innings and didn’t make us go to our bullpen too early. Our
relievers came in and got big outs. I think Alex found himself a
new role, perhaps, the last couple nights. It was a great win
for us and I’m glad we’re here for another day.”
Justin Miller (6-4), the fourth FS hurler,
surrendered Flack’s home run and took the loss. He pitched the
final 1.1 innings and fanned one.
“I thought that was an extremely well-played
baseball game on both ends,” said FS head coach Mike Batesole.
“Outstanding defense, both teams, clutch defensive plays. Both
teams made some big, big pitches when they had to. And just
enough offense to make it a good baseball game. I’m proud of the
way we played, and because they won the first two that put them
in a position where tonight didn’t hurt us and we get to go at
it again tomorrow.”