Tar Heels Super Again

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- As has become customary, North Carolina rallied in its final at-bat to overcome Western Carolina, 6-5, and advance to the Super Regionals. Tournament MVP Josh Horton's two-out single drove home the tying and winning runs in the ninth inning, assuring the Tar Heels will host next weekend in their quest for another shot at the College World Series title.

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    "I knew Josh was going to come through for us again; he is just that type of player," UNC coach Mike Fox said.

    Horton said, "I looked down at Coach Fox and he was just grinning at me. It took a little a of the pressure off. I just tried to smile and have fun.

    "I didn't even really get the barrel on the ball," he said. "It wasn't that much better of a swing, but it dropped in for me. I guess that's the game."

    Tar Heels' closer Andrew Carignan worked the ninth to earn his 14th save on the season.

    "We're excited for it," Carignan said. "It's a turning point for this program, a great way to send out the old Bosh and bring in the new Bosh, so we'll see what we can do."

    Carolina (51-12) will host South Carolina (45-18) in a best-of-three series next weekend for the right to go to Omaha.

    UNC matched its second-best 1990 mark for wins in a season, and has its sights set on the all-time 54-win mark set last season.

    Horton went 5-for-12 in the regional with a team-high six RBI. He also earned ACC Tournament MVP honors and plated the game-winning run with a single in the ninth in the title game win over Wake Forest.

    Horton was joined on the all-tournament team by Rob Wooten and Reid Fronk.

    Wooten worked a career-long 3.1 shutout innings.

    "I knew if I held them, we'd come back eventually," Wooten said, "I never had a doubt."

    Fronk went 3-for-5 with two runs scored.

    The Tar Heels and Gamecocks will play Friday and Saturday with a decisive game three set for Sunday, if necessary.

    Fans should visit TarHeelBlue.com for schedule and ticket details as they become available.

    A minimum of 45 hours of super-regional television will be provided by family of ESPN channels - ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. Consult local listings for specific games shown in each area of the country. As many as 15 national broadcast windows could appear on the three ESPN networks from June 8-11.

    Carolina is one of just three top-eight national seeds to survive regional play, joining No. 2 Rice and No. 5 Arizona State.

    The Tar Heels are making their third Super Regional appearance in the last five years, making trips to South Carolina in 2003 and Alabama in 2006.

    UNC is in search of its sixth trip to the CWS and the first back-to-back trips to Rosenblatt Stadium in program history.

    "I think we had a little bit of pressure on us (this past weekend,) and I'm not quite sure why," Fox said. "Maybe people expected us to win with last year, so we'll learn from that next weekend and try to play a little looser and a little happier."


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