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NCAA Regional: Long Beach St. 6 UNC 1

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USA TODAY Sports

Certainly not the start UNC was looking for in the NCAA Regional.

Trent Thornton gave up six runs in the bottom of the fourth and UNC could do very little with Dirtbag starter Andrew Rohrbach as the Heels fell into the loser's bracket of the Gainesville Regional with a 6-1 loss. UNC will face the loser of today's second game in Gainesville between the region's top seed Florida and #4 seed College of Charleston. That game is set for 1:00 PM on Saturday.

Early on this game was very much a pitcher's duel with Thornton tossing three no-hit innings. In the fourth, however, trouble started when Landon Lassiter couldn't get a grip on a fielded grounder at third causing his throw to first to be a tad late. A wild pitch, groundout and single gave LBSU a 1-0 lead. After that the inning seem to spiral out of control for Thornton and the Tar Heels. A steal attempt led to an offline throw from Korey Dunbar which pulled shortstop Michael Russell into the runner causing the ball to get away and advance the runner to third. Two walks and two singles later UNC was down 4-0 with only one out and Thornton's shortest start of the season done at 3.1 innings pitched. Trevor Kelley came in and promptly gave up a double to put the Dirtbags ahead 6-0.

After that very little happened for either team at the plate. UNC put runners on first and second in the seventh but couldn't produce anything from it and then wasted a Tom Zengel double in the eighth. The Heels finally got on the board in the ninth with a double from Russell. Lassiter singled in pinch-runner Adam Pate to break up the shutout and chase Rohrback from the game. Ty Provencher got the final two outs for LBSU to end the game and put the Heels on the brink of elimination.

One peculiar note, should Florida win later today, UNC faces the possibility of having a season begin and end with a loss to the same team. The Tar Heels opened the 2014 season with a loss to College of Charleston and could very well face the Cougars with the season on the line on Saturday.