OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Rice jumped on North Carolina with a six-run second inning and Joe Savery pitched six-plus solid innings to make it stand up and beat the Tar Heels 14-4 Sunday night in the College World Series.
The Owls, who failed to score in their last 23 innings at the 2006 CWS, have 29 runs in their first two games and are the lone unbeaten team in Bracket 1.
They’ll play Wednesday against the winner of Tuesday’s Louisville-North Carolina elimination game. One more victory would put the Owls (56-12) in the best-of-three championship series that starts Saturday.
North Carolina (54-14) used a CWS-record eight pitchers against the Owls. But a bullpen that had been a key in five come-from-behind victories in the NCAA tournament wasn’t up to the task after freshman starter Alex White lasted only 1 1-3 innings.
Each of Rice’s starting position players had at least one hit, with Diego Seastrunk going 3-for-5 and Aaron Luna hitting a two-run homer in the ninth. It was the most runs surrendered by North Carolina in 119 games, since a 15-8 loss to Maryland on March 17, 2006.
Danny Lehmann, Seastrunk and Brian Friday all doubled in the second as the Owls converted six hits into six runs. They scored in all but three innings and finished with 14 hits.
Savery (11-1), the Philadelphia Phillies’ first-round draft pick, allowed four runs on seven hits before leaving with one out in the seventh.
Cole St. Clair allowed three hits the rest of the way and earned his ninth save.
For White (6-6), it was his second straight poor start in the NCAA tournament. He went 3 1-3 innings in a loss to South Carolina in super regionals, allowing six runs on five hits. He gave up the same number of runs and hits in two fewer innings Sunday.
North Carolina’s bullpen came into the game having allowed just six runs in 29 2-3 innings in the national tournament.
The Tar Heels’ seven relievers gave up eight runs in 7 2-3 innings against the Owls.