- The Washington Times - Monday, June 15, 2009

From combined dispatches

ARIZONA STATE 5, NORTH CAROLINA 2 (10): After the Sun Devils’ Josh Spence and the Tar Heels’ Alex White tangled in a rare College World Series pitchers’ duel, a bad break for North Carolina and a good swing of the bat by Kole Calhoun decided the outcome.

Calhoun’s three-run homer off Brian Moran in the top of the 10th inning, after North Carolina right fielder Garrett Gore’s error led to the go-ahead run, carried the Sun Devils to a victory in Omaha, Neb., on Sunday in a game that left Arizona State coach Pat Murphy in disbelief.

“How many games do you strike out 14 times, get picked off twice, make an error and still win? Pretty lucky,” Murphy said.

Arizona State (50-12) plays Tuesday night against Texas. Also Tuesday, the Tar Heels (47-17) will play Southern Miss in a Bracket 2 elimination game.

Things finally broke open for the Sun Devils after Jason Kipnes reached when Gore misplayed his one-out fly ball near the warning track. The ball nicked Gore’s glove and dropped. Carlos Ramirez followed with a base hit up the middle, scoring Drew Maggi from second to break a 1-1 tie.

Calhoun, who had grounded out to the mound his first three at-bats and struck out looking on his fourth, sent Moran’s 1-1 pitch four rows into the stands in left-center field for a four-run lead.

“I wanted a better at-bat than the last four, and that wasn’t hard to do,” Calhoun said. “Murph told me to take what he gives me and hit it into left center. Fortunately, it got up in the air and got out of here.”

White, who went nine innings in his fourth CWS start, matched his career high with 12 strikeouts. The Cleveland Indians’ first-round draft pick was touched for three doubles in the first two innings, but he allowed only four singles the rest of the way in his 131 pitches.

“Cleveland’s got a good one,” Murphy said. “Every big situation we had, he turned it up a notch. You knew you were in a fight with someone who was pretty special. That’s why Cleveland needs to pay him even more than they set out to pay him.”

Spence allowed eight singles over seven innings. The Los Angeles Angels’ third-round pick walked three and struck out eight in his 122-pitch outing, then gave way to lefty Mitchell Lambson (9-3) in the eighth.

Lambson gloved Gore’s hard liner and threw to first to double up Levi Michael, ending the eighth. He caught Dustin Ackley looking at a pitch on the inside corner just above his knees to end the ninth and struck out Mark Fleury and Gore to end the game.

Faced with the choice of starting Spence or Cincinnati Reds first-round pick Mike Leake, Murphy went with the Australian lefty because North Carolina’s lineup has six left-handed batters.

“Brilliance on my part,” a smiling Murphy said.

TEXAS 7, SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI 6: Golden Eagles reliever Jonathan Johnston walked Brandon Loy on four pitches with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to give the Longhorns the win.

The Longhorns’ final three runs scored on bases-loaded walks. Of Texas’ last 11 batters, six walked and one was hit by a pitch.

The Golden Eagles’ dismal pitching performance in their Omaha debut spoiled an otherwise gutty performance against the top-seeded Longhorns.

Texas (47-14-1), in the CWS for a record 33rd time, moves on to a Tuesday game against Arizona State. Southern Miss (40-25) will try to stay alive against North Carolina in a Bracket 2 elimination game the same day.

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