LOB: UNC 16
Of all the stats from the box score, that is the one that matters most. In a game that saw UNC put an insane number of runners on base, often in scoring position, the best the Heels could get for their efforts was three runs. A fair amount of credit goes to the Commodore defense for coming up with a mind boggling play or two including the fourth inning when a Levi Michael flare to left field was snagged with a diving catch. Had the ball dropped, there is a chance it plates two but instead netted zero runs since Brian Holberton did not tag on third thinking the ball would drop. Colin Moran was hit by a pitch to score a run giving UNC a 3-2 lead but that would conclude the offensive output for the day.
After almost three months of being one of the best pitchers anywhere in college baseball, it was apparently time for Patrick Johnson to pay the piper. Johnson was not horrendous but at the same time wasn't as sharp as he has been. All things considered the game was a 3-3 affair in the sixth when Johnson made what may well have been his first mistake since some time in April. The senior right hander hung a breaking ball on the inside portion of the plate to Vandy CF Connor Harrell who then deposited the pitch over the left field fence to five the Commodores the lead for good.
To say it was a missed opportunity would be understating. The Tar Heel got on base practically any time they wanted to. What they did after is where the real deficiency lies. A big hit here or home run there at any given point may have been enough. It was apparently not meant to be as UNC heads into the loser's bracket to face #7 seeded Texas in an elimination game on Mondy. Coming out of the loser bracket is a tough proposition. In the four previous CWS appearances under Mike Fox, UNC has only lost the opener once, in 2009 versus Arizona St. UNC won the elimination game but then lost to Arizona St. knocking the Heels from the tournament. Regardless, every game UNC plays during the rest of bracket play will be an elimination game. Now we find out what these young Heels are made of.