Gallaher’s walk-off grand slam saves top seed Tar Heels in 11-8 win over LIU at NCAA Tournament

Associated press

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Gavin Gallaher’s walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth saved top-seeded North Carolina, which rallied from three runs down to beat No. 4 seed Long Island 11-8 in the Chapel Hill Regional at the NCAA tournament on Friday night.

The Tar Heels (43-13) trailed 8-5 in the half of the ninth after the Sharks rallied from 5-4 with a four-run inning highlighted by Jacob Pipercic’s go-ahead three-run homer.

But North Carolina wasn’t done yet, especially at home, where the team was going 32-2 before this latest win.

Vance Honeycutt was hit by a pitch to lead off, then Casey Cook singled. Anthony Donofrio’s one-out single, his fourth hit of the game, loaded the bases. Alberto Osuna followed with an RBI single before reliever Justin DeCastro walked Luke Stevenson to force a run and cut the score to 8–7.

At that moment, Gallaher hit a shot that landed in front of the large video scoreboard in left center. Gallaher had his seventh home run this season and was mobbed by teammates after hitting home.

The Tar Heels advanced to play second-seeded LSU for control of the regional Saturday. The Tigers had rallied earlier in the day to get past Wofford.

LIU, the Northeast Conference tournament champions, will play to stay alive in the region against Wofford of the Southern Conference.

It looked like Pipercic’s timely explosion could send the Sharks against LSU. But Sharks’ relievers PJ Moritz and DeCastro gave up six runs on four hits with a walk and a hit batter.

J. Mastillo had a three-run homer to give LIU a 3-1 lead in the third. North Carolina advanced by three runs in the sixth, helped by Alex Osuna’s two-run single.

North Carolina reliever Matt Poston (4-2), who gave up Pipercic’s home run in the ninth, picked up the win. DeCastro (4-4) took the loss.


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