UNC Swept In CWS Finals

OMAHA, Neb. --- It was the greatest season in 140 years of North Carolina baseball following a school-record of 57 wins. The program is at its pinnacle, except for one thing. The Tar Heels failed twice in the College World Series Finals, falling again to Oregon State 9-3 on Sunday.

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    It was a crushing defeat for a UNC team that was the highest seeded remaining participant, but barely challenged the Beavers, who laughed their way throughout the last two weeks of the season and to their second-straight NCAA championship.

    "You try to hold it together," UNC coach Mike Fox said. "We've been together since August, and I've seen these guys more than my wife and children.

    "I can't show how much I care for them right now because they'll think I'm a wimp."

    Take nothing away from OSU (49-18). The Beavers cruised. It was a function of a well-oiled machine and a team deserving of dynastic status duly crowned with back-to-back titles the likes that may not soon be seen again.

    "Back-to-back national championships is unbelievable, especially in Division I baseball today," Fox said.

    After a one-two-three first, UNC starter Luke Putkonen gave up three runs on three hits in the second. The Beavers, who trailed 1-0 after Dustin Ackley singled home Reid Fronk in the first, now led 3-1.

    They would extend their lead with a RBI single from Scott Sanitschi in the third.

    But Carolina, desperately needing an infusion of confidence, loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the inning. Slumping Tim Federowicz knocked in a run on a fielder's choice, but UNC left runners on first and third.

    After Carignan closed things down in the OSU fourth, the Tar Heels again boarded their leadoff batter to first via a single by Kyle Seager. But he would travel no further, as Chad Flack popped out, and Garrett Gore and Reid Fronk struck out looking.

    TV replays showed Gore appeared to be the victim of a poor call by the home plate ump.

    The Beavers led 5-2 after a RBI single by John Wallace, and the Tar Heels were approaching desperation mode. And when Ackley crushed his third homer in four games to cut into the deficit to 5-3 in the fifth, still the Oregon State dugout already appeared in celebration mode.

    In its next at-bat, UNC left two more runners on board, and time was running out.

    "It seemed like we were hitting the ball hard right at them," Josh Horton said. "We just couldn't get it done."

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