Good Things Come To Those That Wait
It was officially the longest nine-inning College World Series game in history. North Carolina finally got their revenge against Oregon State. It took four hours and twenty-four minutes to call it a game. The Tar Heels finally had some payback for their loss to the Beavers in the 2007 CWS. Good things really do come to those that wait, as long as they have patience. In this case, eleven years worth.
North Carolina will now advance in the double elimination portion of Bracket 1 to face Mississippi State.
The game was played in the most miserable heat conditions imaginable. Just when you thought there’d be some relief, Mother Nature piled on. When the game began the temperature was a measly 93 degrees. The nearly 20 mph breeze (if you could call it that) accentuated the heat. With nearly 2 1/2 hours gone fans began migrating from the third base side of the stadium over to first base where there was some shade. Not much but they’d take anything they could find.
Meanwhile, the players, even with cooling fans and wet towels were being slow roasted as well. The Tar Heels, over on the first base side where it was cooler registered 90 plus on the thermometer in their dugout. The Beavers were taking the full brunt and dealt with temperatures around 110 in theirs.
Good Things Come To Those That Wait
To start the game, on the mound for North Carolina was right-hander Gianluca Dalatri and left-hander Luke Heimlich for the Beavers. The game was not kind to either pitcher.
In the first inning Kyle Datres cranked out a single that generated an error for the Beavers. Heimlich then hits Michael Busch which puts men on first and second. Brandon Riley nails one to left field that’s deep enough but was snagged. Datres advances to third. The Tar Heels prove they can hit off Heimlich but fail to bring in any runs after a good start.
Oregon State comes out with a strong response. The Beavers deliver a single and sacrifice bunt that advances a runner. Then with two outs Trevor Larnach finds his sweet spot sending the ball deep to center off the wall. Larnach smokes the bases to record a triple and an RBI. Tar Heel pitcher Dalatri, who had been out with an injury earlier in the season apparently wasn’t ready to return. After a consult with the trainer he departs the game after 15 pitches. Caden O’Brien takes his place and wraps the inning. At the end of the first, Oregon State up 1-0 on North Carolina.
To start the second, Zack Gahagan singles up the middle. Then Heimlich walks Brandon Martorano. Ashton McGee moves the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt. Although Ben Casparius grounded out it allows Gahagan to come home and tie the game for the Tar Heels, 1-1.
The bottom of the second went south for the Beavers. The first batter strikes out, the second gets walked and then the third batter strikes out and the runner tagged out to make it a double play.
Good Things Come To Those That Wait – The Rally
Heimlich starts the third helping the Tar Heels offense as he hits Michael Busch and sends him to first. Cody Roberts plunks a single into left-center sending Busch to third. Brandon Riley lands a sacrifice fly to right sending Busch across home plate. Ike Freeman drops a single into center which pushes Roberts to third. Heimlich tosses one past his catcher which allows Roberts to head home. North Carolina leads 3-1.
The misery wasn’t about to end for Heimlich. Zack Gahagan zings one down the left-field line sending Freeman to third. Then Brandon Martorano is hit and the bases are loaded. That pitch ends Heimlich’s day for the Beavers. Brandon Eisert takes the mound for Oregon State.
Eisert was about to find out why Heimlich was having a bad day. Up next is Ashton McGee for the Tar Heels who flies out and pushes Freeman home. Ben Casparius singles to center and sends two more runners across the plate for the Tar Heels who lead 6-1. Casparius takes advantage of the error and heads to second. Kyle Datres grabs a single on what appears to be another error by the Beavers putting men at first and third. The scorer rules it an infield hit. With Busch at the plate a pitch gets lost in the dirt allowing Datres to move to second. Busch lines out bringing what must feel like a never-ending at bat to an end for the Beavers.
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When you’re down 6-1 there is a sense of dread that often drives you to make up the difference. Oregon State must have been experiencing some of that as their turn at bat helped turn things around. With Steven Kwan grabbing a single and then Cadyn Grenier hustling a single the Beavers had men on first and second with no outs. Nick Madrigal hit into a fielder’s choice with Grenier out at second. The Beavers now have Kwan at third. Trevor Larnach delivers another deep shot, this time to left and picks up a double. He picks up an RBI as Kwan heads home. For the Tar Heels, Caden O’Brien who came in as relief early for starter Dalatri is replaced by Brett Daniels.
Good Things Come To Those That Wait – Dry Spell
Adley Rutschman singles to center scoring two runs for Oregon State. The Beavers end the inning with three runs to tighten the gap. North Carolina up 6-4.
The fourth inning sees one single for the North Carolina and the same for Oregon State.
The Tar Heels couldn’t get anything going in the top of the fifth as well and bring in Joey Lancellotti at the mound. The Beavers found very little to work with in the bottom of the inning.
Both teams seemed to go flat in the middle innings and that may have been a result of the heat and length of the game.
The sixth is a three up, three down situation for North Carolina. Oregon State’s sixth held some promise as Zak Taylor takes base on a hit by pitch and then Kwan is walked. North Carolina switched out pitchers once again seeing Josh Hiatt come in for Lancellotti.
Preston Jones comes in to run for Zak Taylor on first. Grenier hits a shot to short and Jones is caught on the run for a double.
Good Things Come To Those That Wait – Second Wind
The seventh inning was second wind time for both teams. In the top, North Carolina starts with an Ike Freeman single to left-field. Gahagan taps a sac bunt to send Freeman to second. Martorano sends a solid shot to third and beats out the throw that was wide resulting in an error for Oregon State. Ashton McGee singles up the middle sending Freeman home. Eisert wraps up his work for the Beavers and is replaced by Dylan Pearce on the mound.
Ben Casparius singles to center sending Martorano home from third. The Tar Heels extend their lead and have men at first and second with just one out. The remaining effort goes for naught but North Carolina is up 8-4 on Oregon State.
As has been the case for the entire game the bats for Oregon State respond after a Tar Heel rally. Trevor Larnach grabs his third hit of the day with a single to left. Adley Rutschman sends one into right that bounces over the wall for a ground-rule double. The Beavers are in good position to light up the scoreboard with two men on base. Michael Gretler grounds out and sends Larnach home and Rutschman heads to third. Kyle Nobach plops a single into center and gets an RBI as Rutschman crosses the plate.
Jack Anderson singles to left, Tyler Malone then gets a walk that loads the bases. The Tar Heels decide to make another shift on the mound with Cooper Criswell. Criswell shuts down Kwan but the Beavers have closed the gap once again. North Carolina leads 8-6.
Bringing It Home
Cody Roberts opens the 8th for North Carolina with a single. The Beavers switch up their pitching bringing in Christian Chamberlain. Chamberlain takes care of business holding the Tar Heels scoreless.
Oregon State begins their turn at bat with Cadyn Grenier taking first on a walk. Tar Heels catcher Martorano caught Grenier in a pick off play to end the 8th.
It’s the ninth inning and the Tar Heels last at bat unless something miraculous happens. Only Kyle Datres makes base. The North Carolina lead will depend on pitching and some hustle defense. Has the heat been too much?
Bottom of the 9th and the Beavers are at bat. Gretler grounds out to short, then Kyle Nobach follows suit. The final at bat belongs to Jack Anderson who makes it one, two and the final three for Oregon State.
It’s a win for North Carolina with the final, 8-6.
North Carolina moves on to meet Mississippi State in the winner’s bracket of double elimination play. The Tar Heels will play the Bulldogs at 7:00p EDT tonight (Monday, June 18) with coverage on ESPN.
The weather could be a factor once again as game time should see temperatures around 86. Add in some humidity that will begin in the 80’s and climb into the 90’s as the game progresses.
With a win the Tar Heels will go on to face the winner of the Oregon State-Washington game on Friday, June 22 at 7:00p EDT. Should North Carolina drop their game against the Bulldogs they’ll face the loser of the same match on Wednesday, June 20 at 7:00p EDT.
What’s next? The College World Series finals after bracket play and a shot at a title. The final three games are schedule for June 25-27.
So far in Bracket 2, Texas fell to Arkansas, 11-5 and Texas Tech defeated Florida, 6-3. Who will make it out of this bracket into the finals?