UNC-USC Game 2: 'Cocks Even Series

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- North Carolina's eighth inning rally came up short as South Carolina held on to win Game Two, 8-6, in action resumed Sunday following last night's suspended game. The two teams meet again at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 for a winner take all match-up for the right to go to Omaha.

  • Postgame Quotes

    The Gamecocks (46-19) grasped series momentum in jumping to an 8-2 lead in the fourth inning and snapping the Tar Heels' seven-game winning streak over the ACC and NCAA tournaments. It was Carolina's first postseason loss at home in two years, and its eighth loss to the Gamecocks in their last 10 meetings.

    "Obviously I am delighted we were able to win this game and force a Game Three," USC coach Ray Tanner said. "We battled after the tough loss on Friday night and force a third game, which is certainly never easy against a team as good as the Tar Heels."

    Ten strikeouts were a season high against the Tar Heels' batters, which left the potential tying runs on second and third in the top of the eighth. USC starter Arik Hempy accounted for seven K's over 6 2/3 innings.

    Meanwhile, UNC's Alex White suffered through the second shortest start of his career ended in just 3 1/3 innings, as he allowed six runs on five hits and three walks.

    "We didn't get off to a good start obviously yesterday – didn't pitch well," Mike Fox said. "I thought [Hempy] pitched better than ours and that's the key. They're a really good team. Make mistakes with them, and they're going to hurt you."

    A two-run single by Tim Federowicz began UNC's obligatory rally, but severe thunderstorms roared through the area causing lightning and rain that eventually suspended action until Sunday afternoon.

    "FedEx," who went 3-for-5, now leads the Tar Heels with a .429 average in the postseason.

    UNC (52-13) got to within 8-5 before the suspension, and added another run shortly after play resumed. But Gamecocks pitcher Jeff Jeffords settled down after a rough beginning, but closed out the game giving up just one run on a pair of hits in two innings of relief.

    Dustin Ackley, who carried entered Friday with a .427 batting average, managed just his first hit of the series.

    The Tar Heels will send Luke Putkonen (7-1, 4,45 ERA) for Game Three to face another right hander in USC's Mark Cisco (6-2, 3.76).

    "The good thing about Luke is I don't know if Luke has a heart rate," Fox said. "He's going to stay the same. I don't think he'll stress out over tonight. I haven't seen him stress out over anything. I think he'll be even-keel tonight."


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