North Carolina's long drought of College World Series appearances – they bowed out in the regional last season – is at an end. With a two-game sweep of Stanford, the Heels are returning to Omaha. The first game was a pitching duel, with Patrick Johnson extending his scoreless streak to 30.2 innings in a 5-2 win, while the second was a little more bizarre. Carolina was up 6-1 until the eighth, when the Cardinal came roaring back to cut the lead to 1 and put UNC on the ropes with two outs in the ninth. The Heels were rescued by a three-and-a-half hour rain delay, after which they added an extra run and then let Michael Morin shut down Stanford from the mound, winning 7-5.
Third-seeded Carolina will face Vanderbilt in their first game in Ohama. The Commodores, whose basketball coach Kevin Stallings is the father of Heels catcher Jacob Stallings, join second-seed Florida, South Carolina, Texas, and California in the world series. Overall top-seed Virginia faces UC Irvine and Florida State plays Texas A&M for the final two slots.