Cole Green struggled for Texas and Ben Bunting went 4-for-5 for North Carolina as the Tar Heels beat the Longhorns 3-0 to eliminate them from the College World Series on Monday. Freshman Kent Emanuel pitched a complete game for Carolina.
“We’re disappointed,” said junior shortstop Brandon Loy. “We didn’t come here to be the first team to leave.”
Green surrendered five hits in just two innings and didn’t look like the pitcher that staved off elimination for the Longhorns before.
“I was leaving the ball up a little bit early in the game,” Green said. “Any time I made a mistake, they took advantage of it.”
Chaz Frank and Bunting began the third inning with consecutive singles to end Green’s day after 40 pitches. Hoby Milner entered for Texas and struck the next two Tar Heels out, then issued a walk to load the bases. Jacob Stallings followed with a two-RBI single to center field to give North Carolina all the run support it needed. The Longhorns walked six batters, while Carolina only walked one.
“It was a brilliantly pitched game by their pitcher,” said Texas head coach Augie Garrido. “We had a couple of opportunities but they were limited.”
Emanuel surrendered only four hits to Texas, none of them for extra bases. Mark Payton was the only Longhorn to get into scoring position, but got tagged out on a double play fly out. Jonathan Walsh was also doubled up on a lineout to left field.
“Both were judgment plays in which we were being aggressive and it ended up being the wrong decision because of North Carolina’s athleticism,” Garrido said.
Emanuel had success with differentiating his pitches at the beginning of counts, and he made Texas work during every at-bat. The Longhorns had several double-digit pitch counts, but were unable to capitalize.
“We battled hard at the plate and we competed in the game, as was exemplified by the number of at-bats where we fouled off multiple pitches,” Garrido said.
The Tar Heels tacked on another run in the ninth inning for insurance on a two-out double by Bunting. The center fielder also scored in the game. North Carolina head coach Mike Fox said he flipped a coin to decidte to have Bunting hit in the two spot for the Tar Heels.
“The best we could have done today against that pitcher is tied for some more inning unless we scored somewhere along the line,” Garrido said. “I don’t think that stood in the way of our scoring because we only had four hits. I don’t think it was something where he was so overpowering and so overwhelming we were miss-swinging or confused or lacked confidence.”