I left the computer long enough to watch the last few innings of the Alabama vs. North Carolina game on television. UNC trailed, but plated four runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 6-4 lead. The big blow was a three run home run off the bat of Chad Flack. In the top of the ninth, 'Bama answered with a three run jack off the bat of Alex Avila to give the Tide a 7-6 lead. "Roll Tide" was ringing throughout the park.
In the bottom of the final frame, Mr. Flack stepped to the plate once again with one runner on base. I'm watching this transpire and thinking to myself "What if this kid homers, again? Wouldn't that be incredible? Alabama would not only lose the game, but suddenly their year would be finished. If Flack could somehow go yard one more time not only would the Heels win, but they go to Omaha." Then I thought "Isn't this why we watch? Isn't this what the tournament is really all about--the anticipation, the possibilities, the tension?"
I had all those thoughts just moments before Flack hit a walk-off home run and gave UNC an 8-7 triumph. It was amazing. What a swing in emotions, on both sides of the field. Carolina thought their eighth inning might be enough, only to have Alabama respond. Then, the Tide supporters must have figured it was their night after Avila's yard work and UNC fans had to be pondering another game tomorrow, but then came Flack's second bomb in as many innings.
In just the eighth and ninth innings, Flack went yard twice and drove in five to send the Heels to Omaha. You have to be impressed with UNC's multiple comebacks, however, having spent several days watching the seasons and the careers of a number of Big Ten teams and athletes come to an end, I feel worse for 'Bama and their supporters. It's difficult to lose, but to be so close--including regaining the lead dramatically in the top of the ninth--and still fall short is probably more heartbreaking.
An outstanding game, though. One that neither UNC or Alabama fans will forget.
I can't seem to get the Oregon State vs. Stanford feed online and ESPN2 is broadcasting the Fullerton vs. Missouri affair, so no trees for me apparently. Fullerton is winning as are the Beavers, but it's early. Although at 5-0, CSF appears to be in complete control. OSU is up 3-2, so I'm considering that game still up for grabs.
Check out CSTV's on-site blogs the rest of the night. CSTV's thirsty baseball maven Eric Sorenson is stationed at the Fullerton Super Regional, while Lindsay Schnell is in Corvallis.
Update: Stanford has tied it at 3-3.