North Carolina’s history in the College World Series

June 14, 2013 

North Carolina is back in the College World Series for the sixth time in eight years and 10th time overall. Here’s a recap of the Tar Heels’ first nine trips:

• 1960

Coach: Walter Rabb, Record: 22-7, 11-3 ACC

CWS: 0-2, tied for 7th

In the Tar Heels’ first trip to Omaha, they lost to Minnesota and in the elimination game, Oklahoma State’s Jim Wixson threw a no-hitter against the Tar Heels. Wixson’s no-hitter was the second in the College World Series and the last one that has been thrown in Omaha, Neb.

• 1966

Coach: Walter Rabb, Record: 21-13, 12-2 ACC

CWS: 0-2, tied for 7th

Led by All-American Danny Talbott, North Carolina returned to the College World Series. In its first game, North Carolina fell to four-time national champion Southern Cal 6-2 despite getting more hits (nine-seven). Much like its first appearance, UNC was eliminated in its second game to Oklahoma State, the eventual runner-up.

• 1978

Coach: Mike Roberts. Record: 38-17, 9-3 ACC

CWS: 2-2, tied for 3rd

This trip was a breakthrough. UNC lost its opening game but then won its first College World Series game 9-5 over St. John’s. The following day the Tar Heels scored three eighth-inning runs to overcome a two-run deficit and beat Michigan 7-6. The Tar Heels were bounced in their next game by eventual champion Southern Cal, giving up all three runs during the final two innings. Current North Carolina coach Mike Fox was the starting second baseman and was named to the all-tournament team. He hit a home run and drove in three against St. John’s. Fox is one of six men to play in and coach his alma mater to the CWS.

• 1989

Coach: Mike Roberts. Record: 41-18-1, 15-4 ACC

CWS: 0-2, tied for 7th

North Carolina again lost its first two games. Tar Heels ace John Thoden (12-1) suffered his only loss of the season in the 4-2 defeat to Florida State. Arkansas ended their season two days later in a 7-3 win. The Razorbacks scored four in the eighth to win.

• 2006

Coach: Mike Fox. Record: 54-15, 22-8 ACC

CWS: 4-2, runner-up

The first appearance in the CWS under Fox was the team’s most successful. The Tar Heels won a 13-inning thriller against Cal State Fullerton. In the second game, Robert Woodard threw a three-hit shutout against the No. 1 overall seed Clemson. North Carolina advanced to its first championship series after a second victory over Cal State Fullerton. In the championship series, the Tar Heels took Game 1 4-3 before dropping the next two in the best-of-3 series to Oregon State, a team that won six elimination games in Omaha. National player of the year Andrew Miller struck out 14 in 12 2/3 innings during the CWS.

• 2007

Coach: Mike Fox. Record: 57-16, 21-9 ACC

CWS: 4-3, runner-up

The No. 3 national seed won three elimination games to get back to the championship series. It was the second time in CWS history the same teams met in the finals two straight years. Oregon State swept the series this time.

• 2008

Coach: Mike Fox. Record: 54-14, 22-7 ACC

CWS: 3-2, tied for 3rd

North Carolina began with an 8-4 win against Louisiana State, but the heavily favored Tar Heels then fell to Fresno State 5-3. In an elimination game against LSU delayed by rain for two days, the score was 3-3 entering the ninth. LSU’s Louis Coleman allowed a hit, then intentionally walked Dustin Ackley and Tim Fedroff to load the bases. Tim Federowicz hit a two-out grand slam to end the Tigers’ season. In its next game against eventual champion Fresno State, Chad Flack’s two-run home run in the eighth kept the season alive only to end the next day against Fresno State .

• 2009

Coach: Mike Fox. Record: 48-18, 19-10 ACC

CWS: 1-2, tied for 5th

Alex White allowed just one run in nine innings, but Arizona State won 5-2 in the 10th when it scored four, which included a three-run home run from Kole Calhoun. National player of the year Dustin Ackley went 5-for-6 in North Carolina’s 11-4 win against Southern Mississippi, becoming the CWS’ career hits leader. In a season-ending defeat to Arizona State, Calhoun hit a grand slam and drove in six. Ackley was named to his third consecutive All-CWS team.

• 2011

Coach: Mike Fox. Record: 51-16, 20-10 ACC

CWS: 1-2, tied for 5th

The Tar Heels helped open TD Ameritrade Park. North Carolina stranded 16 runners in the 7-3 loss to first-time qualifier Vanderbilt in the first game. Then-freshman Colin Moran was 3-for-4 and drove in two runs in the defeat. Kent Emanuel threw a four-hit shutout against Texas before Vanderbilt ended North Carolina’s season with a 5-1 victory.

Compiled by Wade Rupard


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