CWS: Flack's homer keeps UNC alive

OMAHA, Neb. | Chad Flack's monster two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning kept North Carolina alive in the College World Series with a 4-3 victory over Fresno State on Saturday night.

It's the second straight elimination game Carolina has won on a late home run. Friday, Tim Federowicz's grand slam in the ninth broke a tie in a 7-3 win over LSU.

The Tar Heels (54-13) forced another elimination game Sunday against Fresno State (44-30), the first No. 4 regional seed to reach the CWS.

A win sends North Carolina to the best-of-three championship round for the third straight year, this time against Georgia. Meanwhile, Fresno State is trying to make its first appearance in the finals in its third trip to Omaha.

The Tar Heels threatened almost every inning, but a committee of Fresno State pitchers kept holding them off.

Finally, Flack broke through.

And it wasn't the first time in his Tar Heels career. He hit two homers, including one in the ninth, to beat Alabama in the super regionals in 2006. Last year, he homered in the seventh to propel North Carolina past South Carolina in the super regionals and into the College World Series.

Kyle Seager doubled into right center leading off the bottom of the eighth against Justin Miller (6-4). Up came Flack, who hammered a 3-2 pitch to left, nearly hitting the scoreboard.

Alex White (13-3) got a groundout and two strikeouts to finish off the Bulldogs and earn his third win of the CWS, his second in relief.

Carolina came into the game batting .349 in the CWS and .341 in the NCAA tournament, and the Tar Heels had outscored the opposition 69-32 in the postseason. But Fresno, which beat Carolina 5-3 on Tuesday, kept the Tar Heels mostly in check for seven innings.

The Bulldogs built a 3-0 lead against Matt Harvey on Steve Susdorf's RBI single in the first and Tommy Mendonca's two-run homer in the fourth, his 17th of the season.

Fresno State starter Justin Wilson struggled with his control, walking four of the first eight batters he faced. He struck out Kyle Seager to end the first and induced a double-play ball by Ryan Graepel to end the second.

In the third, Dustin Ackley and Tim Fedroff singled to put runners on with one out before Federowicz hit a soft pop foul to the right side. First baseman Alan Ahmady slid into the tarp to make the catch, then popped up and threw across the field to third base, where Mendonca tagged out Ackley well in front of the bag.

The Tar Heels scored twice in the fourth to pull to 3-2. Flack doubled with one out and scored on Seth Williams' single, and another run scored on a groundout by Ackley.

Fresno State had an opportunity to break it open in the seventh after loading the bases with one out against Rob Wooten and Brian Moran.

But White, who pitched the eighth and ninth innings Friday to earn the win against LSU, came in and shut down the Bulldogs for the rest of the night. His fastball clocked as high as 96 mph as he struck out Gavin Hedstrom and Eric Wetzel to end the seventh, the first two of eight straight he set down.

Carolina threatened in the bottom of the seventh after Ackley singled off Holden Sprague and moved over on a sacrifice. Kris Tomlinson came in to strike out Fedroff in a lefty-lefty matchup, and then Miller struck out Federowicz in a righty-righty confrontation.