OMAHA, Neb. — In Monday’s practice, one day before North Carolina’s elimination bout against Louisiana State, pitching coach Scott Forbes made a statement that now seems more like a prediction.
“To make a run, no matter what, in the winner’s bracket or the loser’s bracket, somebody is going to have to step up in a role that they haven’t been in a lot,” Forbes said.
True to Forbes’ words, closer Trent Thornton started Tuesday for the first time since March 27 and hurled a career-high 114 pitches in a seven-inning, two-run gem. Reliever Chris McCue, in turn, stepped into Thornton’s closer role and recorded just his second save of the season.
On the offensive side, Brian Holberton and Skye Bolt switched spots in the batting order and both delivered — Holberton hit a two-run home run in the first, and Bolt added insurance with an RBI single in the seventh.
It wasn’t the conventional UNC lineup, but the tweaks worked to perfection. UNC won 4-2 to stay alive in the College World Series.