June 20, 2008
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Tim Federowicz's grand slam in the top of the ninth inning Friday night sent North Carolina to a 7-3 victory over LSU in a College World Series elimination game disrupted twice by rain in two days.
Louis Coleman had intentionally walked Tim Fedroff to load the bases with two outs before Federowicz turned on a 1-1 pitch and drove it into the middle of the stands in left field.
Carolina (53-13) moved to the Bracket 1 final against Fresno State on Saturday. The Tar Heels must beat the Bulldogs twice to return to the best-of-three championship series for the third straight year.
Alex White (12-3), who pitched into the eighth inning in Carolina's 8-4 victory over LSU last Sunday, got his second win of the CWS.
Coleman (8-1) was impressive for LSU (49-19-1) in the seventh and eighth innings. But Ryan Graepel doubled with one out, and things began to unravel for him.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri chose to have Coleman, who had allowed one home run in 55 innings, intentionally walk Fedroff, who came into the game batting .401, and take his chances with Federowicz with the bases loaded.
Federowicz hit his fifth homer of the season and the College World Series' first grand slam since 2001. As soon as the ball left the park, Tar Heel players spilled out of the dugout for a welcoming party at home plate.
For LSU, there would be no dramatic rally in the ninth. The Tigers had come back in the ninth inning Tuesday to beat Rice 6-5 for its 30th come-from-behind win of the season. But White got Michael Hollander to hit into a double play to end the game.
White, making his third relief appearance of the season and first since March, got out of trouble in the eighth after walking Matt Clark, who had tied it 3-all in the sixth with his nation-leading 28th homer.
DJ LeMahieu popped out to second and Leon Landry then grounded out to third for the final out.
The game was twice stopped because of weather - once Thursday night that forced the game to be suspended with North Carolina leading 2-0 in the top of the first, and again Friday for 1 hour, 27 minutes.
Carolina turned a double, single, walk and two hit batsmen into the 2-0 lead before the rain came Thursday. The bases were loaded with one out when play was suspended, and Mainieri talked about how he hoped the Tar Heels would hit into a double play once the game resumed Friday.
With Jared Bradford having taken over for starter Blake Hill, Carolina's Garrett Gore obliged, grounding to third baseman Michael Hollander to start the wished-for, inning-ending double play.
The Tigers got a run back in the second on LeMahieu's RBI single.
Players were pulled off the field with one out in the top of the third because of lightning. Rain started a short time later, heavier than on Thursday.
So after 18 minutes of elapsed game time Thursday and 29 minutes Friday, there was more disruption.
Tar Heels center fielder Seth Williams made arguably the defensive play of the CWS when he robbed Micah Gibbs in the fourth. Gibbs sent a low liner into center, with Williams sprinting and diving on his chest to pluck the ball before it touched the wet grass.
Carolina went up 3-1 in the fifth on a run-scoring grounder by Federowicz.