How Do Heels Spell Hero? 'F-L-A-C-K'

OMAHA, Neb. – Many baseball purists believe big hits are the results of pitching mistakes. With the score tied in the bottom of the eighth on Saturday, Chad Flack sent a 1-2 offering off Oregon State reliever Joe Paterson pinballing into the right field corner. But that triple and subsequent game-winning score following a passed ball was all Flack.

The shot helped put the Tar Heels in the driver's seat to potentially win their first College World Series title.

"I hit it and then I saw the right fielder moving more towards left field," said Flack, a sophomore from Forest City (N.C.). "I got past second and didn't want to slide past third. The adrenalin was just running.

"When the pitch went past the catcher, I got a real bad start off third base. I knew that I had to slide and that's what did it. I got my hand on the outside corner of the plate."

OSU coach Pat Casey, perhaps trying to ease the sting of the 4-3 loss with Paterson and several other players seated beside him at the post-game press conference, referred to Flack's heroics as just a result of a pitching "mistake."

But Casey's statement was far from the truth.

"I looked up at the replay after he slid into third and saw the pitch that he hit – that was a tough pitch to even foul off, much less hit down the line," UNC coach Mike Fox said. "But Chad has been getting big hits for us since he stepped on campus, so that doesn't surprise me what he did there."

Earlier this month, Flack capped his stellar run through the second half of the regular season with homers in back-to-back at-bats which lifted Carolina past Alabama on June 10 in the Tuscaloosa Super Regional.

His dramatic ninth-inning blast flew high over the wall in right field and sent the Tar Heels to Omaha in their first trip to the CWS since 1989.

So when is a triple better than a four-bagger? When it puts your team within one game of its first NCAA baseball title in school history.

"Tonight was better," Flack said. "Definitely, tonight."

After a 4-for-4 effort Saturday, Flack has five consecutive hits going back to the win over Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday. The CWS record for consecutive hits is eight. He matched a career-best effort with his four hits pushing his total to 109 hits on the year.

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