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Carolina eliminated Florida Saturday. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Carolina eliminated Florida Saturday. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
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Tar Heels Bounce No. 2 Gators, 5-2
Release: 05/31/2014
GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- North Carolina scored all five of its runs in the third inning after a lengthy rain delay and the third-seeded Tar Heels held on to eliminate No. 2 national seed Florida 5-2 Saturday at McKethan Stadium. Alex Raburn, Tyler Ramirez, Adam Pate and Korey Dunbar all had run-scoring hits in the frame for Carolina, which will face the Long Beach State-College of Charleston loser in an elimination game Sunday at 1 p.m.

Reilly Hovis worked four innings out of the bullpen to pick up his team-high ninth win of the season, while Spencer Trayner got the final six outs to shut the door on the host Gators' season.

UNC (35-26) had two on and nobody out in the third before heavy rain and lightning halted play for more than three hours. When the game resumed, UF starter Bobby Poyner (5-4) was replaced by lefty Kirby Snead, who got Wood Myers to pop out for the first out of the inning. But the Tar Heels pounded out four consecutive RBI hits, including back-to-back doubles by Ramirez and Pate, to turn a scoreless contest into a 5-0 lead.

There was plenty of drama prior to the rain delay, as well, with Florida (40-23) threatening in the third following a scary moment in the bottom of the second. After two quick outs, Pate and Dunbar reached on consecutive singles to bring Michael Russell to the plate. Ahead in the count 3-0, Russell took a fastball from Poyner just above the left eye, sending medical staff and coaches running onto the field. The junior All-America shortstop was able to leave the field under his own power, but a large cut would require stitches and Russell was replaced by Zach Daly.

Parks Jordan flew out to left to end the second, and the Gators looked poised to immediately capitalize on the shift in momentum. Josh Tobias led off the third with a double down the line and moved to third on a groundout. After getting Richie Martin to ground back to the mound, Moss hit Harrison Bader and intentionally walked Taylor Gushue to load the bases. But the junior right-hander froze Zack Powers with a 1-2 breaking ball to escape the jam.

Unfortunately for Moss, the weather ended his day prematurely, and Hovis got the call to start the fourth with a five-run lead. The Gastonia, North Carolina, sophomore attacked the strike zone and allowed just a pair of singles over the middle innings before running into trouble in the seventh.

Florida loaded the bases with one out on a walk and a pair of singles before Hovis got perhaps the biggest out of the day on a nasty 1-2 slider to Gushue. Powers would drive in the Gators' first run with a single to center, but Martin slipped rounding third and Raburn fired a strike to Dunbar, who applied the tag to end the inning.

UF added a single run in the eighth on a two-out Casey Turgeon RBI hit to right, but Trayner got Martin to ground back to the mound before stranding a Bader at third in the ninth to end it. The victory was the first for Carolina against a national seed outside of Omaha since the Tar Heels swept No. 4 Alabama in the 2006 Tuscaloosa Super Regional on their way to the College World Series.

Zac Gallen will start for UNC in Sunday's 1 p.m. elimination game against the loser of Saturday night's Long Beach State-Charleston tilt. If the Tar Heels win Sunday afternoon, they would turn around and face the Saturday night winner for a chance to force a decisive game seven on Monday.


UNC North Carolina Baseball


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