June 16, 2009

Game 7 Notes

College World Series Capsules

College World Series Schedule and Game Stories


Ackley Has Five Hits, Leads UNC Past Southern Miss

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

OMAHA, Neb. – The guy can flat-out hit.


Junior Dustin Ackley (right) went 5 for 6 to lead a record-tying 23-hit attack as North Carolina eliminated Southern Miss 11-4 in the College World Series in front of 19,799 fans at Rosenblatt Stadium.


The fourth-seeded Tar Heels (48-17) will face the loser of the Texas-Arizona State game on Thursday evening at 6 p.m. CT in an elimination game. The Golden Eagles finished the season with a 40-26 record in the final game for head coach Corky Palmer.


“We got contributions from everybody,” UNC head coach Mike Fox said. “Adam Warren gave us a terrific start. I think everybody saw today what everybody on our team and myself have seen in the last three years of Dustin Ackley. Just an unbelievable performance. We’ve seen that before from him day in and day out. He’s one sensational player. I’m glad the nation got to see a little bit of that.”


Ackley matched his career high for hits in a game with four singles and a double and was one away from the CWS record of six, set by Kris Bennett of Tennessee on June 11, 2001, against Georgia. Ackley did break the record for CWS career hits. He now has 27, passing the mark of 24 set by Sam Fuld of Stanford from 2001-03.


“It was just one of those days,” Ackley said. “I’ve had days where I’ve hit a bunch of balls on the nose and they get hit for outs. But today it seemed like a bunch of the balls I would hit would find holes. It’s definitely exciting to get that record but we needed to do more than that and get a win today. It was special to get that but the win was even bigger for us.”


The Tar Heels became the fourth team to record 23 hits in the College World Series.


“Today was a tough day,” Southern Miss head coach Corky Palmer said. “My worst fears came through. North Carolina is a tremendous club. I was hoping I’d be wrong but I really worried about our match-up, seven left-handed hitters in there. We didn’t have an answer.”


Ackley had an RBI single in the first and a run-scoring double in the second as the Tar Heels took a 2-0 lead.


UNC broke it open by scoring four in the third with two outs. Ryan Graepel walked and Mike Cavasinni singled to put runners on the corners. Seth Baldwin has an RBI single, Bunting added a two-run base hit and Ackley had a run-scoring single to make it 6-0.


Graepel added a two-run single with two outs in fourth as the Tar Heels went up 8-0.


The Golden Eagles broke through in the bottom of the frame as Corey Stevens drew a leadoff walk, Michael Ewing got a one-out free pass, and B.A. Vollmuth belted his eighth home run to make it 8-3.


Bunting and Ackley both singled and scored in the seventh as UNC pushed its lead to 10-3.


Joey Archer had a double and scored on an error in the eighth for USM to make it 10-4.


Ackley had a chance for a sixth hit in the ninth, but had a flyout to left. Kyle Seager followed with his sixth home run to complete the scoring.


“It seemed like every time I shaded the middle, he would hit the four-hole.” USM second baseman James Ewing said. “Every time I shaded the four-hole, he’d hit the middle, and vice versa for our shortstop. The guy can just flat-out hit. He hits the ball where it’s pitched. He’s got great hand-eye coordination. You can’t strike him out. That was a show that he put on for us today.” 


Graepel finished with four hits, while Bunting added three hits, three runs and two RBI.


Warren (10-2) pitched six innings for the Tar Heels with three hits, three earned runs, five walks and six strikeouts.


(photo courtesy of UNC Media Relations Office)