Via a pair of mid-week meetings in 1995, UNC owns a 2-0 all-time advantage over the Cardinals (47-23), which booted Mississippi State earlier in the day, 12-4.
There are miracles and then there's a time to pull back, and live to fight another day. While the Tar Heels (54-14) never gave up, hope dwindled quickly following six-run second inning outburst by the Owls.
"That was a good old fashioned fanny whipping," UNC coach Mike Fox said. "We hope we have the opportunity to play them again."
What a difference one game can make at this point in the postseason. Now Carolina will have an uphill battle – at best, needing three wins over three days to return to the CWS championship series beginning this weekend.
"We'll rebound and try again on Tuesday," Fox said.
Again, UNC's worst enemy was its once-lauded starting pitching rotation. The 14 runs allowed were a season high and the most given up by the Tar Heels since a 15-8 loss to Maryland last season.
Carolina's starters have allowed 10 runs in just three innings in the College World Series and they have posted an 11.22 ERA over the last seven games.
Rice (56-12) was bolstered by a strong pitching and hitting performance from Philadelphia Phillies' first-round draft pick Joe Savery (11-1), who scattered four runs on seven hits before leaving with one out in the seventh.
"He kept us off balance with his three pitches," Reid Fronk said. "He mixed it up really well over the plate. We had a couple of good swings but we couldn't string anything together."
Savery was also good for a pair of RBI swinging the bat.
UNC freshman starter Alex White (6-6) struggled for his second straight start in the postseason, giving up six runs in just an inning and a third. And for the first time in this year's tournament, the Tar Heels bullpen, which had surrendered just six runs in 29.2 innings, was shelled as seven relievers yielded eight runs.
"I am frustrated because I felt I had good stuff, especially the first and second innings," White said.
Carolina set a CWS record by using eight pitchers.