Auburn and North Carolina Set to Play for Berth in College World Series
Freshman Richard Fitts (4–3, 5.02 ERA) will get the start for Auburn in game 3 of the Chapel Hill Super Regional (photo: Auburn media)
Auburn overcame a three-run deficit to win the first game of the Chapel Hill NCAA Super Regional Saturday. But there were no late game heroics today as North Carolina forced a decisive third game for Monday.
The Tigers had their opportunities. In fact they came oh so close in the filth inning. Trailing North Carolina 2–0, Edouard Julien went to the plate with two runners on and two outs. The sophomore crushed a ball to deep center sending the center fielder to the wall to make the catch.
One more foot and Auburn would have taken a 3–2 lead, which would have been enough to win the championship and send the Tigers to Omaha. It was not to be, and the Tar Heels lived to play another day.
The Heels got their two runs off a freak incident in the first inning when a fan yelled “balk” during Bailey Horn’s delivery causing him to drop the ball. Horn was ahead of the batter 0–2 when the fan yelled. That put runners on second and third with one out. The next batter singled to score both runners.
North Carolina would not get any more runs after that. However, it didn’t matter as Auburn left nine runners on base.
The Tigers had their opportunities but could not push the needed runs across the plate. “You’re not going to win a game if you can’t find a way to score runs,” said Auburn Coach Butch Thompson. “We knew this was going to be a war. Thankful to get the first game here and … we’ve got an opportunity to come out here tomorrow and play this game again and looking forward to it.”
Freshman Richard Fitts will be on the mound when Auburn (37–26) and North Carolina (46–18) meet at noon CT on ESPN2. The winner will be punching its ticket to the College World Series. Let’s Go Tigers …
Beat the Heels!