Tonight the Tar Heels play Rice for the right to play Oregon State in the 2007 College World Series Final (and for UNC, a chance at revenge). The fate of the Heels lies in the arm of
freshman Alex White sophomore Adam Warren, who had a terrible performance in his first CWS appearance against Rice on Sunday. Can he regain his control on the mound tonight? Will UNC need to mount another comeback? Is this where their luck will run out? We’re about to find out.
7:07 pm: UNC is the home team, and Rice the road team tonight.
Another piece of luck: the main reason we were able to score 3 runs in one inning against the Owls yesterday because of defensive errors. Yet another example of how we have been often as lucky as we have been good.
7:09 pm: CORRECTION: Manager Mike Fox has decided to start Adam Warren in this game, even though it is White’s turn in the rotation. He’s 10-0 in the regular season, but all of his starts have been against far inferior opponents. Still, he filled in well for Woodard against Miss. State last Friday.
7:11 pm: Wow. He retired his first two batters in 3-4 pitches, and retired the side with relative ease. UNC is playing excellent defense, but Warren is pitching well to start the game. 3 up, 3 down.
7:16 pm: UNC’s offense doesn’t fare any better to begin the game. Rice commits an error, but the the Rice pitcher was able to force a groundout and two flyouts to retire the side. Scoreless after 1.
7:22 pm: Top of the 2nd. Warren fields the grounder to retire leadoff hitter and Phillies 1st round pick Joe Savery.
7:23 pm: Seth Willams catches the flyball. Two down.
7:24 pm: Six up, six down for Warren. An excellent pitching performance so far.
7:26 pm: HOME RUN! I think it’s safe to say that Dustin Ackley is out of his hitting slump. That was a rocket over the center field wall. 1-0, UNC to start the bottom of the 2nd.
7:29 pm: After Chad Flack flies out, Kyle Seager gets on base on a HBP. There have already been 46 hit batsmen in this years CWS, shattering the old record of 36. And we still have the championship series.
7:30 pm: I don’t like this “win probability” stat. I would prefer the great suspense of wondering what will happen, not knowing what statistically should happen. And this is coming form someone who majored in the sciences in college.
7:31 pm: Matt Langwell and Rice get out of the inning, but UNC takes a 1-0 lead after 2.
7:34 pm: Rice gets on base to lead off the third inning. So much for Warren’s perfect game bid.
7:36 pm: Warren waks the second batter, putting runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs.
7:38 pm: Rice lays down the sacrifice bunt. Two runners in scoring position, one out.
7:40 pm: Warren gets his first strikeout of the game, fanning the Rice shortstop.
7:41 pm: On the very next pitch, Diego Seastrunk hits a line drive into right field sending both baserunners home. Rice now takes a 2-1 lead. The Rice hitters may have figured out how Warren can be beaten.
7:45 pm: Lord, just let us get out of this inning, so that our pitching doesn’t collapse.
7:46 pm: The top of the 3rd ends with Savery flying out to Reid Fronk, but Rice has taken a 2-1 lead in the middle of the 3rd.
7:49 pm: Fronk is walked to lead off in the bottom of the third.
7:50 pm: HOME RUN! Tim Fedroff shoots one into the left field seats, and UNC takes a 3-2 lead. UNC now has 3 times as many home runs (3) in the last two games as in all of their previous postseason games (1).
7:52 pm: Horton gets to second after another error by Brian Friday, his third in two days. Previously, the Owls haven’t committed an error in the entire CWS.
7:56 pm: Rice retires the next three batters to end the third inning and leave Horton stranded. UNC leads, 3-2 after 3 innings.
8:01 pm: Barry Larkin: “When recruiting, Rice has been able to reproduce”: hmmm…
8:07 pm: Warren has two outs in the top of the 4th, but Aaron Luna is at third base. Rob Wooten is warming up…
8:08 pm: …but Rice flies out to center field, and Warren gets out of the jam.
8:14 pm: ANOTHER HOME RUN! This time it’s Seth Williams, who shoots one over the left field fence. UNC has three hits in this game, all home runs. Where was this power in the rest of the postseason?
8:20 pm: You know Brian Friday has had a bad few days when he gets run over by a baserunner, trying to field a bad throw.
8:22 pm: Rice finally retires the side to end the inning. UNC leads 4-2 after four.
8:26 pm: Wow, that was fast. Warren is on roll, retiring the 5th inning side in 6 pitches, including a strikeout. Our starting pitching has finally come together in the last few games.
8:28 pm: Langwell was pulled in the fourth inning, but that doesn’t matter. ANOTHER HOME RUN, this time by Josh Horton to lead off the bottom 5th inning. 5-2, in favor of the Tar Heels.
8:30 pm: TAR! HEELS! TAR HEELS! TAR HEELS! TAR! HEELS!…
8:33 pm: Bobby Bramhall walks Federowicz and Ackley after the Horton home run. runns on 1st and 2nd, no outs.
8:35 pm: Flack sac bunts to advance the runners. One out.
Bramhall has been pulled in favor of closer Cole St. Clair. This move may be perplexing, but Andrew Carignan pitched 5 strong innings in the deciding Super Regional game against South Carolina.
8:39 pm: Seager hits a line drive right down the middle of the infield for a base hit. Fed-Ex and Ackley will score. The score is now 7-2 in favor of UNC.
8:42 pm: St. Clair finally gets out of the inning, but Rice is in big trouble now, down 7-2 after 5 innings.
8:48 pm: Warren easily gets out of the inning, and UNC still leads 7-2 in the middle of the 6th.
8:52 pm: Fronk gets a double as the Heels continue to dominate against the Owls relief pitching.
8:55 pm: Soccer update: USA 2, Canada 1, Stoppage time, CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinal.
8:59 pm: Canada scores, but Canada is called for offsides, a very, very controversial call. Nevertheless, USA officially wins, 2-1.
9:06 pm: Wooten is in the game for UNC, but Rice is taking advantage of his pitching. With no outs, they have gotten three hits and scored a run to make it 7-3, UNC. Rice may not be out of this yet.
9:09 pm: Garrett Gore has done an excellent job of fielding. He manged to get the forceout at second for the first out of the inning, and then caught a foul ball for the second in such a way that he was able to turn around quickly and deter the runner on third from running home.
9:10 pm: The next batter hits a line drive into right field. Fedroff can’t reach it, and the socre is now 7-4, UNC. ESPN makes the all to obvious joke: “the Rice isn;t cooked yet.” Ugh.
9:14 pm: Out with Rob Wooten, in with Andrew Carignan.
9:16 pm: My experience this summer at Boshamer has been fantastic, but it was missing one thing: a beach ball in the general admission section.
Carignan strikes out Joe Savery to end the inning. UNC is holding on to a 7-4 lead.
9:21 pm: Bottom of the 7th inning. Dustin Ackley hits a leadoff double off the left field wall.
9:30 pm: Wow, sometimes live blogging a baseball game is hard. Anyway, UNC is unable to to take advantage of the early double, as Rice retires the next three batters. The margin remains 7-4, UNC after 7 innings.
9:32 pm: Rice gets a leadoff single.
9:35 pm: After 1 out, Garrett Gore mishandles a groundball, which took a really bad hop. The World Wide Leader continues to talk about both the groundscrew and the umpire (specifically, the bad jobs they think they’ve done).
9:38 pm: After striking out the next batter, Carignan gets out of the inning with a flyout to Seth Williams. UNC remains in a 7-4 lead at the middle of the 8th.
9:40 pm: Off topic. I am very glad that the US are advancing to the finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. However, Canada should have been awarded that goal at the end to force extra time. They were onside.
9:42 pm: Gore grounds out to lead off the bottom of the 8th inning. Fronk flies out and Fedroff grounds out for an easy 3-up, 3-down 8th inning for Rice. UNC leads 7-4, and they are now just three outs away from a rematch with Oregon State.
9:45 pm: Two outs away. Rice flies out to Willams at center field.
9:47 pm: One out away. Friday grounds out to Flack.
9:48 pm: Seastrunk hits a fly ball, but Seth Willams makes the catch, and we’re going to the Championship Series! WHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
The Championship series will be a rematch between the Tar Heels and Oregon State. UNC will be hoping to get their revenge. I will liveblog every game of the series right here. It’s great that the Heels get to return to the Series, but having watched them in person, to do it this year has been substantially more awesome for me.