The North Carolina Tarheels defeated the Stanford Cardinal 7-5 in the super regionals round of the 2011 NCAA baseball tournament to become the first team in the eight-team College World Series field. UNC advances after winning the opener 5-2 and this second rain-delayed affair 7-5. The game was into the ninth inning before a 3 1/2 hour rain delay kept the Tarheels from celebrating.
Stanford took an early lead and was getting strong pitching from Jordan Pries before UNC put up three runs in the top of the fourth inning. UNC took the lead with a walk, two singles and a double. The Tarheels then added three more runs in the seventh inning as Stanford struggled on defense. A walk and an error were followed by a single that resulted in three runs, two of which were unearned.
However, the Cardinal battled back in the bottom of the eighth inning as they put four runs on the board to turn this into a dramatic finale. The Cardinal hit three singles and drew a walk before Austin Wilson cleared the bases with a double to make it a 6-5 game. The Cardinal could get nothing else in the eighth as Zach Jones grounded into a double play to end the inning.
In the top of the ninth, UNC got a leadoff single from Levi Michael who got around to third with two outs. At that point, the teams were called off the field as lightning was not too far away. The tarps were brought out for what was expected to be approximately an hour of rain. An hour-plus rain delay turned into a 3 1/2 hour delay before the game finally got going again.
Both relievers returned to the field to finish out the game, but Stanford's Chris Reed couldn't quite get things done. Down 6-5, he walked the first batter after the delay and then gave up an RBI single to Jacob Stallings to give UNC a key insurance run. Stanford came up in the ninth needing two runs to tie the game but were set down in order by Michael Morin on two strikeouts and a groundout.
UNC becomes the first team to advance to the 2011 College World Series, which starts June 18 in Omaha. Meanwhile, Stanford heads home after a solid season that just ran out of gas.