College baseball: LSU beats Tar Heels, they’ll play decisive game on Monday

Published 1:06 am Monday, June 3, 2024

CHAPEL HILL  (AP) — Josh Pearson and Hayden Travinski hit home runs, Steven Milam had a two-run single in a four-run fourth inning and defending-champion LSU beat No. 4 national seed North Carolina 8-4 on Sunday night at the Chapel Hill Regional.

LSU (43-22) forced a Monday rematch with North Carolina (44-14) for the regional title and a berth in the super regionals. The Tar Heels knocked the Tigers into the losers’ bracket with a 6-2 victory on Saturday.

Pearson homered after Jared Jones walked with two outs in the bottom of the first inning and the Tigers never looked back.

Michael Braswell III had a two-out single in the third to drive in a run and Milam plated his two in the fourth to give LSU 7-1 lead. The Tigers tacked another run on in the fifth on solo homer by Travinski.

North Carolina scored a run in the top of the sixth when Parks Harber doubled, took third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch. The Tar Heels scored their final two runs on Anthony Donofrio’s bases-loaded single in the seventh.

North Carolina loaded the bases and sent the tying run to the plate with one out in the ninth against reliever Gavin Guidry. But Guidry struck out Luke Stevenson on a full-count pitch and retired Gavin Gallaher on a fly ball to left to end the threat.

Starter Thatcher Hurd (3-4) earned the victory. He allowed two runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings, striking out six without issuing a walk.

Tar Heels starter Aidan Haugh (4-2) was tagged with the loss after giving up four runs on five hits and two walks in three innings.

LSU is aiming for its eighth title and 20th appearance in the College World Series. The Tigers have lost just once — to Florida in 2017 — when they made it to the finale.

North Carolina has made 11 College World Series appearances, most recently in 2018. The Tar Heels have never won the event, finishing as the runners-up twice, in 2006-07.

LSU beat Wofford 13-6 earlier Sunday to stay alive.