OMAHA, Neb. -- National Pitcher of the Year Luke Heimlich didn't make it through the third inning, Oregon State committed three errors, and the Beavers were pushed to the brink of elimination from the College World Series, losing their opening-round game to North Carolina, 8-6.
The Tar Heels jumped on Heimlich and tagged the Beavers for five runs in the third inning to take a 6-1 lead. Quickly, in the bottom half, the Beavers struck right back, scoring three runs off a Trevor Larnach double and Adley Rutschman single.
North Carolina struck for another run in the seventh before Central Point native Dylan Pearce was called upon in relief. He gave up an RBI single to the first batter he faced, but got a strike out and fly out to end the inning with no further damage.
Again, this time down 8-4, the Beavers struck back. Michael Gretler drove in a run with a groundout to shortstop. With two outs, Kyle Nobach came through with an RBI single to push the game to 8-6. Then, after the Beavers had loaded the bases with two outs, the Tar Heels went to projected Game 2 starter, Cooper Criswell, to face the top of the order.
Leadoff hitter Steven Kwan watched four pitches go by. Three were strikes. With that, the inning was over and the threat went with it. Over the final two innings, North Carolina held Oregon State off to secure the 8-6 opening round win.
Oregon State plays Monday morning against the loser of the Saturday night Washington vs. Mississippi State game.
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