Tar Heels Rally to Defeat Gamecocks 9-6 In NCAA Super Regional
June 8, 2007
Chapel Hill, N.C. - Third-seeded North Carolina scored nine unanswered runs and rallied from a six-run deficit to defeat South Carolina 9-6 in game one of an NCAA Super Regional in Chapel Hill, N.C. Josh Horton doubled three times and Chad Flack went 2-for-4 with two RBI to help lead the Tar Heels to the comeback victory. North Carolina is now 52-12 on the year while the loss drops the Gamecocks to 45-19 this season. The teams meet in game two of the NCAA Super Regional on Saturday at 7 pm ET with the game televised on ESPN.
South Carolina appeared to be in control of the game with a 6-0 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth inning and fresh off a pinch-hit grand slam homer from Robbie Grinestaff. With two outs and no runners on base, North Carolina began its rally scoring three times with a pair of unearned runs as well. Horton doubled and scored North Carolina's first run of the game off a RBI double from Flack. The inning would then continue as Kyle Seager reached base on a fielding error by Gamecock shortstop Reese Havens. That error would come back to haunt the Gamecocks as a pair of RBI hits from Seth Williams and Garrett Gore off of Gamecock reliever Curtis Johnson crept the Tar Heels to within three runs.
In the seventh inning, North Carolina put together its second consecutive two-out rally, this time scoring six runs to take a three-run lead. Tim Federowicz singled with two outs and scored on a RBI double from Horton that got by left fielder Cheyne Hurst to score Federowicz all the way from first base. Horton then would score on Flack's RBI base hit to left field. Kyle Seager kept things going for the Tar Heels with a single that gave the Tar Heels a pair of runners. Into the game then came reliever Jeff Jeffords, who walked both Seth Williams and Garrett Gore to give North Carolina a one-run lead. South Carolina then summoned reliever Will Atwood, who then allowed RBI base hits to Reid Fronk and Tim Fedroff that gave the Tar Heels a commanding 9-6 lead. North Carolina reliever Andrew Carignan closed the game out for the Tar Heels with two hitless innings to earn his 15th save of the year.
Paced by Horton's three doubles and Flack's two hits, the Tar Heels finished with an 11-6 hit advantage. Havens had two hits to lead the Gamecocks at the plate.
James Darnell staked South Carolina to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning with his 19th home run of the year. Following Travis Jones' leadoff single on North Carolina starting pitcher Robert Woodard's first pitch of the game, Darnell stroked the 0-1 pitch from Woodard over the left field wall to give the Gamecocks a two-run cushion.
South Carolina starting pitcher Harris Honeycutt remained in control for the first half of the game and limited the Tar Heels from reaching base. He also worked out of a tough second and third base jam with one out in the fourth inning. He was able to get Flack to hit a short fly ball to right field and Kyle Seager to ground out to the catcher to keep the Heels off the scoreboard.
With a two-run lead, the Gamecocks went ahead by six runs in the sixth inning on Robbie Grinestaff's grand slam home run. The inning opened with a leadoff walk issued to James Darnell and South Carolina added its second runner with one out as Phil Disher reached base on a fielding error by Flack at third base. A two-out walk to Andrew Crisp loaded the bases and set the stage for the pinch hitter, Grinestaff. On a 3-2 pitch, Grinestaff launched the home run over the right field wall, his first homer since March 21 at Wofford.
Grinestaff's grand slam home run in the sixth inning was his second career grand slam with the Gamecocks. His previous grand slam came in a 15-12 win over Furman on May 16, 2006. Grinestaff's grand slam also marked the Gamecocks' sixth grand slam of the year and second straight game with a grand slam homer. Phil Disher hit a grand slam in the 11-6 win over Charlotte in the NCAA Regional on June 4, 2007.
North Carolina reliever Rob Wooten earned the win and is 6-1 on the year after 0.2 innings of relief with two strikeouts. South Carolina reliever Curtis Johnson suffered the loss and is 1-3 this season. He allowed four runs on five hits in one inning of relief.