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North Carolina takes advantage of unprecedented Oregon State

NCAA Would Series first round wraps up today as Texas faces Arkansas and Florida meets Texas Tech at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.

By Arnie Leshin 
Arnie Leshin

North Carolina took advantage of one of Oregon State’s worst game of the season in prevailing 8-6 Saturday in the opening game of the NCAA Division I Baseball World Series played at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.

The 5th ranked Tar Heels put together a five-run third inning helped along by two costly errors and which exited starting southpaw Luke Heimlich, with his 3rd ranked Beavers down 4-1. In the top of the seventh, after Oregon State closed the gap withfour runs, another Beaver miscue in the eighth brought in an insurance run.

With each team employing six hurlers in the game and an unprecedented number of time outs, the 4-hour, 24-minute marathon broke the CWS record for a nine inning game that Miami and Tennessee held since 2006.

“This was not us out there today,” said Beavers’ head coach Pat Casey. “Along with mistakes in the field, we were not alert on the bases, and even at bat when we missed too many pitches. We’re still playing, but will have to play much better.”

Dropping into the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination format, they next meet up with Pac-12 rival Washington, which lost 1-0 in game two on a walk-off clout in the last of the ninth by Luke Alexander that sailed over the right fielders head and scored Hunter Stovall from second.

It was the fourth time the Bulldogs had come from behind in the tournament, twice in elimination games.

In the opener, North Carolina had better pitching and more key hits on a day when its former star pitcher Zach Attiansso passed away in the morning. And pitcher Cooper Criswell was happy to see his father in the stands after a bicycle accident less than a year ago.

“Great to see dad there,” said Criswell, who was called in when Oregon State scored three times in the third, and allowed four of the Beaver run while striking out seven and walking three.

Heimlich, who had gone 15-1 this season and 25-2 the last two years, didn’t have his best stuff, and was the losing pitcher while Criswell got the win.

The Tar Heels now take on SEC foe Mississippi State in the winner’s bracket.

The Bulldogs and Huskies showed qualify pitching and excellent defense. No errors by either and Mississippi State had more hits, 10-6.

Four teams played and only Oregon State committed errors, the most in one game for it.

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