GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Three days after losing its first game in the Gainesville Regional, North Carolina will still be playing Monday. And while the Tar Heels can give partial thanks to Mother Nature for a reprieve, they will need their bats to wake up quickly.
North Carolina trailed Long Beach State, 5-4, when Game 5 of the Gainesville Regional was postponed after two weather delays totaling more than six hours.
The game resumes Monday at noon in the top of the seventh inning with Long Beach State at bat with runners on first and second and one out. The winner faces College of Charleston 55 minutes after completion of the continued game. If North Carolina wins both games Monday, the Tar Heels face College of Charleston Tuesday at noon in a winner-take-region game.
In a contrast from their Friday meeting, a 6-1 loss, North Carolina swung a hot bat to start Sundays elimination game.
After a two-run homer by Long Beach States Ino Patron gave the Dirtbags an early 2-0 lead, North Carolina answered when Skye Bolt hit a 400-plus foot shot well over the bullpen area in right center.
The Tar Heels took a 3-2 lead in the second after Korey Dunbar executed a perfect squeeze bunt on a full count to score Alex Raburn. The Dirtbags put two more runs on the board in the top of the third when Patron hit a two-run single that scored Colby Brenner and Colton Vaughn.
But North Carolina tied things up in the bottom of the third when Bolt scored on a single by Tyler Ramirez. The Tar Heels threatened again in the bottom of the fourth as Landon Lassiter and Bolt reached base with two outs.
Then the rains came.
After a three-hour, 23-minute delay, the Tar Heels failed to capitalize as Wood Myers flied out to the warning track in right field.
Long Beach took the lead in the sixth on a solo home run by Michael Hill, his first of the season.
As the second rain delay approached in the seventh, Trayner Spencer was warming up to try to get the Tar Heels out of jam and hopefully save the season.