OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — North Carolina powered its way back to the College World Series finals, hitting four home runs to support Adam Warren and two relievers in a 7-4 victory over Rice on Thursday night.
The Tar Heels beat Rice twice in two days to win their bracket for the second straight year. They will play defending champion Oregon State in only the second finals rematch in the CWS’ 61-year history. Arizona State and Southern California met in 1972 and 1973.
It was a replay of last year’s CWS for the Owls.
Rice won its first two games here in 2006, then went home after getting shut out twice by Oregon State. The Owls scored 29 runs in winning their first two games this year, including a 14-4 win over North Carolina, but they managed only five in the two losses to the Tar Heels.
North Carolina (57-14), which has an Atlantic Coast Conference-leading 70 home runs in 71 games, had just one in 13 postseason games before Wednesday’s 6-1 win over Rice (56-14).
Dustin Ackley, whose three-run homer broke open Wednesday’s game, homered leading off the second against Rice starter Matt Langwell (8-2) on Thursday.