North Carolina saw its season come to an end with a 12-5 loss to Long Beach State Monday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. Long Beach scored twice in the seventh after having two on with one out when the game was halted late Sunday due to torrential rain and unplayable field conditions. Tom Zengel had three hits, while Skye Bolt and Tyler Ramirez had two RBIs apiece for the Tar Heels, who finished 2014 with a 35-27 record and a 13th straight NCAA regional appearance.
Long Beach State (34-25) had a 5-4 lead in the seventh when a second rain delay stopped play Sunday evening. After lenghty wait, the game was suspended and rescheduled for a 12:05 resumption Monday afternoon.
The Dirtbags wasted no time against Carolina reliever Spencer Trayner, executing a double steal on the first pitch Monday and loading the bases with an intentional walk to Richard Prigatano. Michael Hill, whose solo home run gave LBSU a 5-4 lead, singled through the right side to push the Long Beach lead to 7-4.
Benton Moss came on for UNC and got out of the inning, and the Tar Heels immediately responded with a run in the bottom of the seventh on a Ramirez double. But LBSU closer Ty Provencher struck out Adam Pate to strand the tying runs on base before the Dirtbags broke it open in the ninth.
Zengel’s three-hit day in his final game as a Tar Heel led a 13-hit attack, with Bolt, Ramirez, Alex Raburn and Landon Lassiter each chipping in two. Henry Sisson got the final two outs in the ninth for the Carolina bullpen, which figures to return the bulk of its arms – including first-team All-ACC righty Reilly Hovis – in 2014.
Michael Russell, who played despite a nasty cut above the eye from a fastball to the head against Florida, finished his standout junior season with a team-leading .339 batting average as well as four homers and 20 doubles.