OMAHA-BOUND; Heels Roll to CWS

CARY, N.C. – No. 2 North Carolina's bats spotted Adam Warren an overabundance of runs on Sunday, but the right-hander didn't need many, tossing a two-hitter through six shutout innings in the Tar Heels' 14-4 win over Coastal Carolina to clinch a third-straight trip to the College World Series.

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"This is a pretty special day for our program, especially our six seniors," UNC head coach Mike Fox said. "To be able to go out [to Omaha, Neb.] and finish their careers out there is really special for me to see… We just played probably one of our most complete games of the year today when we really needed it."

North Carolina becomes only the second ACC program to ever go to three consecutive College World Series, joining Florida State ('94-‘96 and ‘98-‘00) on that list.

"It never gets old," senior closer Rob Wooten replied when asked about returning to Omaha. "We've worked so hard for this all year long and we're very fortunate to get back, but we've got some unfinished business to take care of."

Warren's performance marked the eighth-consecutive postseason game in which UNC's starters have been virtually untouchable. Warren (four walks, three strikeouts), Alex White and Matt Harvey have combined to allow just nine earned runs while recording 53 strikeouts in 50 innings during all eight postseason outings.

Making this weekend's showings even more impressive is that Coastal Carolina entered the Super Regional having tallied 56 runs in its previous four contests.

"The bottom line is that if you put those two teams on paper, there's not a whole lot of difference between the lineups…," Coastal Carolina head coach Gary Gilmore said. "The difference is the depth of their pitching staff. They have so many quality pieces to the puzzle over there, and they're coached so well."

With the temperatures striving for triple digits for the third consecutive day, the Tar Heels remained cool and collected in their quest for another shot at the NCAA Championship. The only apparent negative effect of the weather on Sunday was when second baseman Kyle Seager lost a ball in the sun on a routine popup in the fifth inning, ending Warren's no-hitter attempt when the official scorer ruled the play as a hit.

All nine batters in UNC's starting lineup collected at least one hit on Sunday, while eight Tar Heels added RBIs in the box score. Dustin Ackley (3-5, three RBI) led the way as UNC amassed 17 hits in all en route to a .386 team batting average (17-44) on the day.

"You saw Dustin Ackley at his best today," Fox said. "He's something special. You've seen it the last couple of days. That kid is absolutely unreal."

After a Garrett Gore (2-4, two RBI) single to score Seager (1-4, one RBI) put North Carolina on the board in the top of the second, a Tar Heel avalanche quickly enveloped the Chanticleers. Ackley's two-out, two-run single into right field started a string of four-straight hits for North Carolina. Kyle Shelton moved Ackley to second, and then Tim Fedroff (2-5, two RBI) doubled both runners across the plate with a blast to the gap in left center.

Tim Federowicz (3-5, three RBI) then doubled off the left field wall to score Fedroff and give the Tar Heels a 6-0 lead before Coastal Carolina's cleanup hitter ever stepped into the batter's box.

"It's always easy when the offense scores six [runs] in the second," Warren said.

Seth Williams (1-5, one RBI) and Ryan Graepel (2-5, one RBI) joined the RBI party in the fifth evening before Ackley's single to left field scored another run and put the Heels on top 9-0. Seager and Chad Flack (2-6, one RBI) knocked in one run apiece in the top of the sixth, and Gore added a sacrifice fly to give North Carolina a 12-0 cushion through six innings.

The one concern surrounding this Tar Heel program entering this weekend's series poked its head up once again on Sunday – the UNC bullpen. Colin Bates replaced Warren in the seventh inning, and promptly gave up two hits and four earned runs without posting an out.

Brian Moran (2/3 innings, two strikeouts, one walk), Rob Wooten (2.0 innings, one hit, two strikouts) and Tyler Trice (1/3 inning) closed out the Chanticleers with the temperature hovering around the 98-degree mark at 4 p.m.

Federowicz tacked on two more runs with a double in the top of the ninth to secure the final margin of victory.

North Carolina begins its quest for a first-ever national championship next weekend in Omaha, Neb.


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