College baseball: Tar Heels beat defending champs in 10 innings, will play West Virginia this weekend

Published 11:09 pm Monday, June 3, 2024


CHAPEL HILL  (AP) — Alex Madera drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning with a two-out single after LSU tied the game in the bottom of the ninth and No. 4 national seed North Carolina beat LSU 4-3 on Monday night, winning the Chapel Hill Regional and knocking the defending-champion Tigers out of the NCAA Tournament.

North Carolina (45-14) will play West Virginia in a best-of-three super regional matchup beginning Friday or Saturday.

Samuel Dutton was replaced after surrendering three straight singles to begin the game in a start for LSU (43-23). Javen Coleman entered and walked Anthony Donofrio to force in a run. The Tar Heels scored another run on a double play for a 2-0 lead.

Tommy White greeted North Carolina freshman starter Jason DeCaro with a single to lead off the bottom of the first. Jared Jones was hit by a pitch with one out and both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch. White scored on a groundout by Josh Pearson, but DeCaro retired Michael Braswell III on a fly ball to center field to escape without any further damage.

LSU went to its third pitcher — Will Hellmers — just one out into the second inning after Coleman walked Alex Madera and hit No. 9 batter Colby Wilkerson. Hellmers struck out Vance Honeycutt on three pitches before walking Casey Cook on four pitches to load the bases. Parks Harber flied out to the warning track in left center to end the threat.

Jake Brown homered to right center on the first pitch he saw from DeCaro to knot the score with two outs in the second.

Matthew Matthijs replaced DeCaro to begin the third and surrendered the lead on a two-out solo home run to right center by Jared Jones. It was the only run Matthijs allowed in 4 1/3 innings of work.

Hellmers retired 12 straight batters after a leadoff single by Donofrio in the third inning. Alex Madera led off the seventh with a single to end the streak but Hellmers retired the next three batters. He walked the leadoff batter to start the eighth and was replaced by Nate Ackenhausen, who struck out the side.

Tigers starter Gage Jump (6-2) made his second relief appearance of the season to begin the ninth and promptly surrendered a double to Gavin Gallaher. Madera struck out on a two-strike bunt that stayed fair for 89 feet for the first out, but Wilkerson sent a flare into left field on a 2-2 pitch to tie the game. Honeycutt, who homered twice in the Tar Heels’ 6-2 win over LSU on Saturday, followed with a walk but the rally ended there.

Matthijs and fellow reliever Dalton Pence (4-1) set down 15 Tigers in a row until Pence walked Jones on four straight pitches with two outs in the eighth. Pence issued a two-out walk to Jones in the 10th and Jones took second on a wild pitch, but Honeycutt chased down Josh Pearson’s fly ball to right for the final out.

LSU forced a deciding game with an 8-4 victory over North Carolina on Sunday.

North Carolina has been to the College World Series 12 times, most recently in 2018. The Tar Heels were the runners-up in back-to-back seasons, losing both to Oregon State in 2006-07.

LSU has made 19 CWS appearances, beating Florida 18-4 last season to win the event for the seventh time and first since 2009. The Tigers were the runners-up in 2017, losing 5-2 to Florida.