UNC to Omaha: Tar Heels sweep West Virginia to earn 12th College World Series appearance

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN/AP) — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill won its second game in two days against West Virginia Saturday to earn the Tar Heels a spot in Omaha for its 12th College World Series.

North Carolina (47-14) scored only twice on Saturday in the best-of-three series — but it was enough to edge the Mountaineers 2-1 and win the Chapel Hill Super Regional with the term Diamond Heels appearing all over social media after the win.

Vance Honeycutt hit a home run on the game’s first pitch after ending the series opener with a walk-off two-run shot Friday night.

The huge victory Saturday night set an attendance record at 4,491 at Boshamer Stadium, known as “The Bosh,” according to UNC officials.

Also Saturday night, Honeycutt broke his program single-season home run record when he put the Tar Heels on the scoreboard in the first inning with his 26th home run.

In the third inning, senior Parks Harber drove Honeycutt home with run No. 2 of the night.

West Virginia threatened UNC with a run in the seventh to make it a one-run game. But the Tar Heels were able to limit that Kyle West single, which scored Reed Chumley, to the only score by the Mountaineers.

Honeycutt’s home run was the 63rd of his career.

UNC, Honeycutt walk-off West Virginia

North Carolina has made 11 College World Series appearances in the past but never won it. The Tar Heels were the runners-up to Oregon State twice, in 2006 and ’07.

On Saturday night, the Tar Heels scored their final run on three singles in the third. Honeycutt got it started when he bunted with two away and beat it out. Casey Cook followed with a base hit up the middle to put runners at the corners and Parks Harber plated Honeycutt with a single through the left side of the infield for what proved to be the winning run.

UNC head baseball coach Scott Forbes after the Super Regional win to earn a trip to the College World Series on Saturday night. Photo by Jordan Crammer/CBS 17
UNC head baseball coach Scott Forbes after the Super Regional win to earn a trip to the College World Series on Saturday night. Photo by Jordan Crammer/CBS 17

The Mountaineers scored their lone run in the bottom of the seventh. Reed Chumley singled with one out, took second on a two-out walk to Spencer Barnett and raced home on a Kyle West single through the left side.

West Virginia (36-24), which advanced to the first super regional in school history, loaded the bases against Tar Heels reliever Dalton Pence with two outs in the ninth, but Ben Lumsden was retired on a groundout to end the game and earn Pence his eighth save of the season.

Jason Decaro (6-1) pitched 6 1/3 innings in a start for North Carolina to get the win, allowing one run on two hits and two walks while striking out five. Pence yielded two hits and three walks in pitching the final 2 2/3 innings.

Switalski (5-3) took the loss for the Mountaineers. He gave up two runs on five hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.

The game turned out to be the last for West Virginia (36-24) head coach Randy Mazey, who announced he would step down after the season and turn the reins over to longtime associate head coach Steve Sabins. Mazey retires with a 541-424-2 record with head coaching stops at Charleston Southern (1994-96) and East Carolina (2003-05) before taking the job with the Mountaineers in 2013. Mazey won conference coach-of-the-year honors in the Big South and Conference USA before earning the award in the Big 12 in 2019 and last season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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