No. 4 LSU ends its season at 57-11. No. 1 North Carolina (58-11) survives to play the loser of NC State/UCLA on Thursday at 7 p.m. CT.
North Carolina jumped out to an early lead in the first inning with the second home run of the 2013 CWS. With two outs, Colin Moran singled, and Brian Holberton followed up with a line drive that landed just over the fence in right, giving the Tar Heels a 2-0 lead.
They tacked on runs in the third and seventh, which proved to be all they would need en route to victory.
LSU left 13 runners on base and only scored just two runs off of their 10 hits.
UNC starter Trent Thorton improved to 12-1 on the year, giving up two runs on nine hits. He walked four and struck out three. Reliever Chris McCue picked up his second save of the year in his second appearance at this year’s CWS.
LSU’s Cody Glenn lasted just two batters into the third inning, giving up three runs on five hits with one walk and one strikeout. The loss ends his season at 7-3.
The run scored by UNC in the third inning proved to be the decisive one. Landon Lassiter doubled, and Colin Moran’s grounder up the first baseline took a nasty hop off the bag and over Mason Katz’ head for an RBI single. Carolina loaded the bases with another single and a walk, but LSU reliever Brent Bonvillain got the next three outs to escape the jam.
LSU got a run back in the fifth. Sean McMullen and Mark Laird singled, and Katz drove them in with a single to left. That left two runners on for Raph Rhymes, who flew out to shallow right to end the inning for his third time in the game. Rhymes finished the day 0-and-5, leaving eight runners on base.
North Carolina added an insurance run in the seventh off of a single by Moran, a sac bunt by Holberton and an RBI single by Skye Bolt.
LSU narrowed the gap to two in their half of the seventh when McMullen led off with a double and Mark Laird singled. Alex Bregman then grounded into a double play, which allowed McMullen to come home. LSU rallied again in the eighth, loading the bases with a walk, a single and a hit-by-pitch, but they failed to push any runs across.
Moran led the Tar Heels with three hits and one RBI. Holberton ended the day at 2-for-5 with two RBI.
For the Tigers, Laird finished 3-for-5, and Katz went 2-for-2 with three walks.