June 10, 2007

Chapel Hill: Sweet Swan Song For The Bosh

It was "a great way to send out Boshamer Stadium", according to North Carolina Coach Mike Fox, as UNC came from behind yet again to defeat South Carolina 9-4 and earn a second consecutive trip to Omaha. The Tar Heels will meet Mississippi State on Friday, June 15th in the late game.

Trailing 4-1, UNC scored three runs to tie it in the top of the sixth, then took the lead on a 2 run Chad Flack home run in the top of the 7th inning. "The Stopper", Andrew Carignan pitched four innings of scoreless relief to earn the win. Carignan, the UNC closer who usually pitches only one or two innings at a time, struck out pinch hitter Drew Martin to end the game and set off a frenzied celebration by the Tar Heels. Catcher Tim Federowicz hurled the ball high up over the backstop following the final out, with the ball landing a few feet away from where I was sitting on press row.

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Chapel Hill: Heading to Omaha

UNC has taken the deciding game, 9-4, to advance to the College World Series in Omaha, behind four innings of relief by closer Andrew Carignan.

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Chapel Hill: Crunch Time

Who wants go to Omaha? With a trip to the midwest mecca of college baseball on the line, North Carolina and South Carolina will battle for that honor.

Here are the starting lineups for the deciding game of this series. South Carolina won the coin toss and will be the home team.

Reid Fronk LF
Tim Fedroff RF
Dustin Ackley 1B
Tim Federowicz C
Josh Horton SS
Chad Flack 3B
Kyle Seager DH
Seth Williams CF
Garrett Gore 2B

Luke Putkonen (7-1, 4.46) P

Travis Jones 2B
James Darnell 3B
Justin Smoak 1B
Phil Disher DH
Trent Kline C
Andrew Crisp LF
Harley Lail RF
Reese Havens SS
Steven Reinhold CF

Mike Cisco (6-2, 3.76) P

PREGAME: Kyle Shelton of UNC was the first player out on the field for warmups. All the South Carolina players ran out and touched the College World Series sign on the outfield wall as they began their pre-game warm-ups. The crowd filed in earlier for this game than the earlier game, since the sun is setting and temperatures are now bearable.

BURNOUT: About 15 minutes ago there was a loud buzzing noise, followed by a thick puff of acrid, black smoke from the truck that carries one of the extra sets of lights for the ESPN broadcast. Fortunately, there has been no more smoke or disconcerting noises and the lights on this truck are still functioning.

NO TRESPASSING: As soon as I arrived for this game, I tried to walk up to the top of Ehringhaus dorm to get a view of the field from the balcony, as several have done for the first two games. Darn it, I was foiled. At the third floor there was a security door through which I could not pass. Either those watching from up there have an access card/code, or they are craftier than me.

ELECTION 2008: On my way to the game, I passed a rally for former North Carolina Senator and presidential hopeful John Edwards. The son of a mill worker was born in South Carolina, raised in North Carolina, started college at Clemson, finished at NC State, and received his law degree from UNC. No word on which team he's pulling for- probably the one with the most voters.

NO LIVE BLOGGING: Follow the game on GameTracker, and Touching the Bases will be back after the game.

Chapel Hill: Game Two Wrap

North Carolina native Arik Hempy pitched 6 2/3 innings for South Carolina to keep the Gamecocks alive and force a third game in the Chapel Hill Super Regional. After throwing balls on his first five pitches, Jeff Jeffords righted the ship and picked up his sixth save, while Alex White (6-5) took the loss for UNC.

Player of the Game: Justin Smoak, South Carolina
After going 0 for 3 in the first game, Smoak had an RBI double, solo home run and scored three runs in going 2 for 3 to lead the Gamecocks at the plate.

Could Have Done Better: UNC lefthanded hitters
As a group, they went 3 for 17 with 6 strikeouts, mostly against Hempy.

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Chapel Hill: Gamecocks Even Series

South Carolina withstood another North Carolina comeback and a long weather delay to hold on and beat the Tar Heels, 8-6, in game two of this series. Arik Hempy gets the win, while Alex White takes the loss.

The deciding game will be played tonight at 7 pm.

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Chapel Hill: Game Two, Part Two

After a rain delay of approximately 17 hours, we'll pick up the second game of this Super Regional in the middle of the seventh inning, starting at 2:36 pm. The resumed game, and third game if necessary, will be on ESPN2. Either way, this will be the final day of baseball at the 35 year old Boshamer Stadium- until it gets rebuilt starting as soon as the game ends.

Again, no live blogging, so keep up to date with Gametracker.

I'll be back after the game to give you the rundown.

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June 09, 2007

Chapel Hill: Weather Delays Us Until Sunday

First lightning, then rain has led to the postponement of the South Carolina-North Carolina game until Sunday.
The game is in the middle of the seventh inning, and will be resumed at 2:36 pm Sunday.
If a third game is necessary, it will still take place as planned at 7 pm tomorrow night.

Chapel Hill: Game Two

North Carolina will try to seal the deal against South Carolina tonight and join Mississippi State in Omaha for the College World Series. However, to do so they'll have to hold down the potent USC bats and get strong pitching from freshman Alex White (6-4, 3.87). They'll also have to come up with some offense against Arik Hempy (6-3, 3.38), the junior lefthander who bounced back from Tommy John surgery to be a force on the mound for the Gamecocks this year.

UNC came from six runs down to score 9 runs with two outs in the sixth and seventh innings last night to take game one, 9-6. There were 2,895 in attendance for that one.

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June 08, 2007

Chapel Hill: Final Wrap

In the 9-6 UNC game one Super Regional victory, reliever Rob Wooten (6-1) got the win for the third straight game. Closer Andrew Carignan pitched two scoreless innings to get his 15th save. Curtis Johnson (1-3) took the loss in relief for South Carolina.

"Came from behind again, didn't we?" That's how North Carolina Coach Mike Fox started the post-game press conference after UNC came from behind late to win for the third straight game.

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Chapel Hill: Post-Game

As expected, the crowd at tonight's game was about evenly split between fans from South Carolina and North Carolina. The capacity crowd was well-behaved, despite the rather strong rivalry that has developed after playing each other now four times in the past six years. I saw one UNC fan who was razzing the Gamecock faithful during the game, but never saw any real chirping back and forth. UNC basketball players Brandon Wright and Wayne Ellington were among the crowd early on. Both were freshmen this past season, and Wright is expected to be a high draft choice in the upcoming NBA draft. Ellington will return to UNC next season.

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Chapel Hill: Game One

UNC takes game one 9-6, after battling back from a 6 run deficit.

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Chapel Hill: About to Get Going

Game one of the Chapel Hill Super Regional is about to get started, pitting South Carolina against host North Carolina. Harris Honeycutt (8-5, 3.59) will start for the Gamecocks, while Robert Woodard (10-2, 3.02) will try to get a leg up for the Tar Heels in this series.

Approximately 2,500 college baseball fans will cram into Boshamer Stadium for this one. The main stands hold about 2,000 people, while another 500 or so will be out on the grassy, terraced berm along the first base line. This area, which contains picnic tables and usually hordes of kids running around playing, will disappear next year when Boshamer Stadium is rebuilt and the main stands will extend down to this area. UNC got a bit of a jump start by pulling up some of the bushes that are going to be lost anyway and creating another couple of hundred "seats" for this area.

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June 07, 2007

Chapel Hill: Carolinas Super Regional Preview

The Gamecocks of South Carolina will travel north to Chapel Hill to take on their northern neighbors, the Tar Heels of North Carolina, in a battle for baseball bragging rights in the Chapel Hill Super Regional starting Friday night at 7 pm EST.

South Carolina (45-18) will be the visiting this time as they take on North Carolina (51-12) for the fourth time time in the past six years in NCAA post-season play. USC got here by virtue of winning their Super Regional, going 3-0 by beating Wofford (9-1) and Charlotte twice (12-8, 11-6). UNC went undefeated in winning its regional against Jacksonville (6-0), East Carolina (11-10), and Western Carolina (6-5). The Gamecocks eliminated the Tar Heels from the Regionals in 2002 and 2004 and the Super Regionals in 2003. All three times the games were played in Columbia at Sarge Frye Field. This will be the first time a Super Regional has been held in Chapel Hill.

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