Tar Heels headed back to Omaha for third straight season
Published 3:33 am Monday, June 9, 2008
By By JOEDY McCREARY, AP Sports Writer
CARY — Mike Fox was giving a postgame interview when his players doused him with two coolers of sports drink. For North Carolina’s coach, there was no more refreshing way to cap his weekend — and not just because of the near-100-degree temperatures.
Fox and the Tar Heels are headed back to the College World Series, wrapping up their third straight trip to Omaha with a 14-4 rout of Coastal Carolina on Sunday behind six innings of two-hit ball from Adam Warren.
Dustin Ackley drove in three runs, Warren took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and every starter had at least one hit. The Tar Heels (51-12) scored six runs in the second, led 12-0 in the sixth and then celebrated their latest berth in Omaha by dogpiling behind the mound and giving their coach another victory bath.
Next up: The winner of the Baton Rouge Super Regional — either UC-Irvine or LSU — next weekend at Rosenblatt Stadium.
One day after hard-throwing Alex White dominated the Chanticleers’ hitters in a series-opening 9-4 victory, it was Warren’s turn to show why the Tar Heels boast the nation’s best pitching staff.
He struck out three and lost his no-hitter with two outs in the fifth when second baseman Kyle Seager lost Tyler Bortnick’s pop-up in the sun, before he was relieved in the seventh by Colin Bates. Warren (9-1) won his third straight decision and earn his first victory of the NCAA tournament.
Federowicz also drove in three runs and Tim Fedroff and Garrett Gore had two RBIs apiece for North Carolina, which improved to 5-0 in the NCAAs and outscored its opponents 51-20 in two straight weekend sweeps. Their last loss in the tournament came last June in Omaha, where they were beaten by Oregon State in the championship series for the second straight year.
Bortnick broke up the shutout, starting a four-run seventh with a two-run single off Bates for Coastal Carolina (50-14).
Nick McCully (10-3) allowed six runs and seven hits in two innings, losing for the first time since an 8-1 loss to Winthrop on April 6. He entered having won his last six decisions, but couldn’t prolong Coastal Carolina’s first appearance in the super regionals.
For the second straight day, North Carolina built a big lead while their pitcher made sure the Chanticleers couldn’t catch up.
The Tar Heels, who led 9-1 and held on to win Game 1, batted around during their big second, keyed by two-run hits from both Ackley and Fedroff, who scored on Federowicz’s double off the wall in left that capped the burst and made it 6-0.
North Carolina pushed its lead to 9-0 three innings later against reliever Pete Andrelczyk, scoring three runs with two outs on sequential RBI singles by Seth Williams, Ryan Graepel and Ackley — and scored three more in the sixth.
Defense remained a problem for Coastal Carolina, which made three more errors to increase its total in the series to nine — five by second baseman Rico Noel.