College World Series: Arizona State 5, North Carolina 2
By Eric Olson
OMAHA, Neb. ó After Arizona State’s Josh Spence and North Carolina’s Alex White tangled in a rare College World Series pitchers’ duel, a bad break for the Tar Heels and a good swing of the bat by Kole Calhoun decided the outcome.
Calhoun’s three-run homer off Brian Moran in the top of the 10th inning, after Carolina right fielder Garrett Gore’s error led to the go-ahead run, carried the Sun Devils to a 5-2 victory Sunday in a game that left ASU coach Pat Murphy shaking his head.
“How many games do you strike out 14 times, get picked off twice, make an error and still win? Pretty lucky,” Murphy said.
ASU (50-12) plays Tuesday night against Texas. The Tar Heels (47-17) will play in a Bracket 2 elimination game the same day.
Things finally broke open for the Sun Devils after Jason Kipnes reached when Gore misplayed his one-out fly ball near the warning track. The ball nicked Gore’s glove and dropped. Carlos Ramirez followed with a base hit up the middle, scoring Drew Maggi from second to break a 1-1 tie.
Calhoun, who had grounded out to the mound his first three at-bats and struck out looking on his fourth, sent Moran’s 1-1 pitch four rows into the stands in left-center field for a four-run lead.
White, who went nine innings in his fourth CWS start, matched his career-high with 12 strikeouts. The Cleveland Indians’ first-round draft pick was touched for three doubles in the first two innings, but he allowed only four singles the rest of the way.
Spence allowed eight singles over seven innings. The Los Angeles Angels’ third-round pick walked three and struck out eight in his 122-pitch outing, then gave way to lefty Mitchell Lambson (9-3) in the eighth.
Lambson gloved Gore’s hard liner and threw to first to double up Levi Michael, ending the eighth. He caught Dustin Ackley looking at a pitch on the inside corner just above his knees to end the ninth and struck out Mark Fleury and Gore to end the game.
“Just a tough loss,” White said. “The good thing is that we get to play again.”