Chapel Hill, NC -
A magical run in the NCAA Tournament for Stetson University's baseball team comes to a heart-stopping end in the Super Regional round.
In last night's 7-4 loss to the University of North Carolina (43-18), designated hitter Brooks Wilson came up in the top of the 9th inning with the bases loaded and a chance to give his Hatters (48-13) the lead. That time, his deep fly to left field was caught just before the warning track.
The only difference today was that it was the bottom of the 9th with two Hatters on board and the deep fly went to center field instead. Once UNC's Brandon Riley squeezed the ball in his glove, it was the team in blue celebrating a 7-5 win and its first trip to the College World Series in five years in front of a packed house at Boshamer Stadium.
Playing as the road team despite the game being at their home stadium due to NCAA rules, the #6 overall seed jumped all over Stetson starting pitcher Jack Perkins early, plating four runs as the entire lineup came up to bat in the top of the 1st inning.
UNC third baseman Kyle Datres singled to left field on the first pitch of the game, one of six hits that inning for head coach Mike Fox's club. Back-to-back one-out RBI doubles by right fielder Cody Roberts and Riley quickly made it 2-0.
Second baseman Zack Gahagan's single later on that inning scored Riley to make it 3-0, and another RBI double - this one from left fielder Ashton McGee - scored shortstop Ike Freeman from 3rd base, putting Stetson deep in the hole before seeing the first pitch from UNC starting pitcher Gianluca Dalatri.
Hatters third baseman Jon Meola got his team on the board with a two-out solo home run to right field in the bottom of the 2nd inning, but UNC would quickly make up for it in the top of the 3rd inning with two runs of their own.