Another rivalry game between North Carolina and North Carolina State is on the horizon at the College World Series in Omaha. This time, the loser will go home.
No team has been hotter down the stretch than North Carolina State. UCLA’s 2-1 victory over the Wolfpack on Tuesday was only the fifth loss for State since March 31, and no one except for Florida State and the North Carolina Tar Heels had beaten the Pack. So Wolfpack coach Elliott Avent was in no mood to talk about the Tar Heel rematch Thursday night.
"Right now, our guys need to re-play this game, understand why we lost, understand what they have to do if we’re going to continue in the post-season and have a chance to play for a national championship," Avent said.
UCLA scored both of its runs in the fifth and kept the Wolfpack hitters in check. When leading after eight innings, the Bruins are now 37-0 this season.
Meanwhile, after a sterling start this season with 39 wins in their first 41 games, the top-seeded Tar Heels didn’t want it to end with a whimper in Omaha. North Carolina remains alive after beating LSU, 4-2, in Tuesday's elimination game.
Brian Holberton, a junior from Charlotte, got the Heels on the scoreboard with a two-run homer, his 12th of the season, in the opening inning. They held their lead until the game was over to give the Heels under coach Mike Fox 58 wins this year, a new school record.
"That’s quite an accomplishment for these players, so we’re certainly happy to have won and stay out here a little while longer," Fox said.
Rebounding from Sunday’s loss to N.C. State is nothing new to the Heels this year. They’re the only team in the country this season without back-to-back losses.
The Wolfpack game against the Tar Heels is at 8 p.m. Thursday night.