June 20, 2007
Box Score |
| Postgame Press Conference
OMAHA, Neb. -- Down but not out, the number-one ranked Rice baseball team fell to second-ranked North Carolina by a score of 6-1 in the first semifinal game of the College World Series Wednesday afternoon at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb.
The teams will now have a rematch on Thursday (6:00, ESPN/KTRU 91.7) where the winner advances to the final, best-of-three series to determine the NCAA national champion starting on Saturday (June 23). The loss was the Owls' first of the NCAA Tournament (seven games) and snapped a nine-game win streak that dated back to the semifinals of the Conference USA Tournament last May. North Carolina survived an earlier elimination game at the College World Series against Louisville on Tuesday and has to beat Rice a second time in two days to advance in the double elimination format.
The Tar Heels quickly put a run on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning and went on to build a 6-0 lead. Reid Fronk was hit by a pitch to start the game and Tim Fedroff and Josh Horton hit back-to-back singles for an early 1-0 lead. That threat was ended when Joe Savery snared a line drive at first base and doubled-off the Tar Heel runner. UNC however came back with two more in the second on two consecutive fielding errors.
Both of the first two North Carolina hitters reached on Rice fielding errors and a one-out single by Garrett Gore loaded the bases for the top of the order. Fonk drew a walk to score one and Fedroff hit a sacrifice fly that stretched the margin to 3-0.
UNC added three insurance runs in the seventh on a walk and two hits. The big blow was a three-run homer run to right field by Dustin Ackley for a 6-0 lead.
Rice scored a run on three hits in the bottom of the inning. Jared Gayhart led off with a single up the middle and Tyler Henley punched a base hit through the right side. A double play erased Henley, but Gayhart advanced to third. Aaron Luna drew a walk to put me on the corners and a double on the left field line scored Gayhart for a 6-1 game.
UNC pitcher Robert Woodard earned his 11th win of the season working 6.2 innings. He allowed five hits, a walk and struck out four. reshman Ryan Berry was the pitcher of record for the Owls. He fell to 11-3.
The Blue & Gray is now 56-13 on the season. North Carolina improved to 56-14. A year ago UNC advanced to the final best-of-three series while Rice finished tied for third in the nation.