The UNC Tar Heels overcame heavy hearts and extreme heat to defeat the Oregon State Beavers.
Saturday afternoon was supposed to be a joyous experience for the North Carolina Tar Heels. After sweeping their way through the Regionals and Super Regionals, UNC prepared to kick off their first College World Series since 2013 against a very dangerous Oregon State team.
Unfortunately, the Tar Heels learned that former teammate, pitcher Zach Attianese, had died in a car accident, along with his father, had passed away in a car accident. The coaching staff and many members of the current UNC team were very close with Attianese.
Playing with heavy hearts, the Tar Heels earned a well-deserved 8-6 victory over Oregon State in what was the longest nine-inning game in College World Series history at four hours and 24 minutes.
A five-run third inning proved to be the difference in this one. Five singles, two hit-by-pitches, a passed ball and a wild pitch all contributed the Tar Heel attack. In fact, all 11 North Carolina hits were singles. That is the style of baseball that wins games and the style of play that will carry this Tar Heels team far in this year’s College World Series.
On the diamond, UNC had to overcome the immediate exit of their starting pitcher, Gianluca Dalatari. After four batters, Dalatari left the game with an unknown injury. As of this writing, there was still no word on his injury (probably won’t get word until after the tournament, if he doesn’t return).
The Tar Heels used six pitchers in all with Cooper Criswell tossing the final 2.1 innings. He allowed one hit and one walk, finishing off one of the toughest lineups in all of college baseball.
UNC now enters the winner’s bracket and will face Mississippi State on Monday night at 7 pm on ESPN.