Season Slammed Shut: UNC Eliminates LSU With Grand Slam in Ninth

Paul Augustin, Jr.Senior Analyst IJune 20, 2008

After nearly 29 hours after the first pitch, the elimination game between North Carolina and LSU is over.  It didn't end the way that Tiger fans had hoped as the Tigers ran out of late-game magic and lost 7-3.  The Tar Heels hit a grand slam off reliever Louis Coleman in the ninth inning to break a 3-3 tie.

The Tar Heels and Tigers completed the game Friday night after it was suspended by rain on Thursday.  The two teams managed only to get through six batters in the top of the first on Thursday before umpires stopped play for the night. 

When play resumed on Friday, Head Coach Paul Mainieri inserted sinker baller Jared Bradford to relieve Blake Martin, who was wild on Thursday in giving up a quick two runs.  On Bradford's second pitch, he induced a ground ball double play to get out of a bases loaded jam to escape the inning unscathed.

The Tigers cut the deficit in half on DJ LeMahieu's RBI single to score Micah Gibbs.

Just as LSU seized the momentum of the game, another delay. This time lightning started the delay which lasted nearly an hour and a half.

Bradford returned to pitch after the delay and only gave up one run in five and two-thirds innings.

Matt Clark, the nation's homerun leader, added to his total with a game-tying shot in the sixth inning.

Louis Coleman relieved Bradford in the seventh and was nearly perfect for two innings until he the ninth.  In the ninth, he gave up a lead-off double and ended up loading the bases for UNC catcher Tim Federowicz, who drove in the winning runs with his grand slam.

Despite LSU's elimination from the College World Series, they have a lot to build upon for next season.  First of all, if you would have told me that LSU host a regional, let alone win a game in the College World Series after they started 6-11-1 in the SEC, I would have said you were nuts.  After the Smoke Laval Era and missing the postseason last year, I was hopping just for a regional appearance to get this program jump started. 

In reality, this team is a year ahead of schedule.  There is tons of young talent on this team led by Micah Gibbs and DJ LeMaheiu.  I also feel very confident with the direction this program is headed with Coach Mainieri at the reins.

You can expect the new Alex Box Stadium to be rockin' next year, and Omaha can expect the purple and gold back next year.