June 21, 2006
Omaha, Neb - Jay Cox hit a pair of home runs and the North Carolina bullpen cut short another Cal State Fullerton rally Wednesday night for a 6-5 victory to advance to the Championship Series and eliminate the Titans from the 60th College World Series.
Fullerton finishes the season 50-15 while the Tar Heels take a 53-13 mark into a 2-out-of-3 series vs. either Rice or Oregon State.
Cox capped a 4-run third inning with his 14th home run of the year and he added a solo shot the next time up in the fifth. Tim Federowicz followed with another solo shot which proved to be the winning run off loser Wes Roemer (13-2).
Fullerton tried to erase a 3-run deficit for the second day in a row and got within a run entering the eighth. John Curtis led off with a double over Cox' head in left and he moved to third when Justin Turner bounced out to second on a 1-2 pitch. The Titans tried to squeeze Curtis home but Blake Davis' bunt was too strong and bounced cleanly for closer Andrew Carrigan to field and throw home in time.
In the ninth, Dorn lined out to center and Cooper sent Cox to the wall in left field for the second out. North Carolina ace Andrew Miller was called on to relieve and face pinch-hitter Bryan Harris, who grounded out to short.
The Titans jumped on top with two runs in the second inning. David Cooper got his seventh consecutive hit with a looper behind second base. He was bunted to second by Brandon Tripp and moved to third on Clark Hardman's single to right. Evan McArthur singled home Cooper and Hardman scored on Curtis' soft single to center.
North Carolina came right back in the top of the third after Roemer couldn't handle Mike Cavasini's leadoff comebacker. Reid Fronk singled Cavasini to third from where he scored on Horton's single to left. After a force out, Cox homered to left center for a 3-run home run, his 14th of the season.
The Titans cut the deficit in half with a run in the bottom half of the inning when Brett Pill led off with a double and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Tripp.
The Titans wasted two-out singles by Turner and Davis in the fourth and Carolina used the long ball in the fifth. Roemer was unable to finish the inning for his shortest start of the season.
Fullerton left Dorn on second in the fifth and Curtis on third in the sixth before breaking through in the seventh. Pill doubled to right center again and moved to third on a single by Dorn. Cooper moved both runners up with a bouncer over the mound before Tripp singled to right. Cory Vanderhook batted for Hardman and delivered a sacrifice fly to deep left field to score Dorn.
Coach George Horton: "I'm a little emotional right now. My sadness is not that we lost, but that we can't compete with this team any more. It's a difficult pill to swallow. I remember 1992 when I was an assistant and we came up a run short in the national championship game. I didn't feel like we lost that day and I don't fell like we lost today.
"I reflect on the juniors and seniors that will be gone from this group. I think everyone who has e
ver worn a Titan uniform including me should be proud of this team.
(on the aborted squeeze play): "Blake's a good bunter. I'm not going to second guess the call. We're not going to beat ourselves over the head. I thought it was the right play."
Shortstop Blake Davis: "The pitch was right down the middle. I got it down on the ground but just bunted it right back to the pitcher."
(on dugout feelings in ninth inning): "We've been there before. It's going to happen. On Cooper's ball, the flag was blowing to right. We just came up short."
Catcher John Curtis: "I thought it was a pretty good bunt. I kind of got a bad jump. Their pitcher made a good play off the mound."
Pitcher Wes Roemer: "I was 100 percent at the start. Nothing was tired or sore. It was just like any other start. All of a sudden, they started getting hits. I made that error and everyone started going wrong. I put another zero on the board but then made two bad pitches and that was pretty much the game."