Heels fall after early lead versus Arizona State: Calhoun and Spence mighty tough

Arizona State 12, North Carolina 5
Omaha, Neb. (NCAA College World Series)

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -Kole Calhoun hit the game-tying grand slam in the fifth inning and the go-ahead double in the seventh, and Arizona State erased a four-run deficit in a 12-5 victory over North Carolina at the College World Series on Thursday night.

Calhoun has homered in each of the Sun Devils’ CWS games and has driven in 10 runs. The 12 runs Carolina (48-18) surrendered were a season high.

ASU starter Josh Spence (10-1) allowed seven hits and four runs, three earned, in seven innings. Colin Bates (4-4) took the loss in relief of Matt Harvey, who threw a CWS-record four wild pitches.

Harvey’s control problems caught up to the Tar Heels in the fifth. He was pulled in favor of Brian Moran after hitting Jason Kipnis and walking Carlos Ramirez to load the bases.

Calhoun, the first batter to face Moran, slugged a 3-2 pitch into the seats 390 feet away in right-center field to tie it at 4.

Calhoun’s homer was his 12th of the season and second off Moran. Calhoun tagged Moran for a three-run homer in the 10th inning in ASU’s 5-2 win Sunday.

North Carolina’s usually dependable pitching melted down in the muggy 92-degree heat. Harvey, making his third career CWS start, walked five and hit two batters, in addition to his wild pitches.

Harvey and six other Carolina pitchers combined to walk 10, hit four batters and throw five wild pitches.

ASU sent 13 to the plate in an eight-run seventh inning that Calhoun started with his two-run double into the right-center gap.

It was the Sun Devils’ biggest inning of the season, and the second-most runs by a Tar Heels opponent in one inning. North Carolina gave up 10 to Virginia in the third inning in an Atlantic Coast Conference tournament loss.

North Carolina’s Dustin Ackley extended his NCAA tournament hitting streak to 22 games with a single in his last at-bat. The No. 2 overall draft pick by the Seattle Mariners, who was likely playing his final college game, has had at least one hit in each of his 15 career CWS games.

Ackley, who was 8 for 16 in three games in Omaha this year, holds the CWS record with 28 career hits.

ASU coach Pat Murphy, who earlier in the week had ruled out Spence until the weekend, reconsidered and gave the Australian lefty the surprise start against a Tar Heels lineup that included six left-handed batters.

Spence was working on three days’ rest after allowing eight hits and one run in seven innings of the Sun Devils’ win over Carolina on Sunday.

The Tar Heels got to Spence early in the rematch. Their first two runs scored on Jacob Stallings’ safety-squeeze bunts, and Mike Cavasinni and Ryan Graepel hit back-to-back RBI singles to put Carolina up 4-0 in the fourth.

It was all Arizona State after that.

Calhoun’s grand slam was the first by an ASU player at the CWS since Michael Collins in 1998. Sal Bando (1965) and Bob Horner (1978) also have hit slams in Omaha for the Sun Devils.


  1. Coach Fox had his aces sitting insteading of pitching and certainly left Matt Harvey in way too long. They deserved better than that, from Fox.

  2. jim,

    Could he have and did Fox ever use Alex White? He defintely left the starter out there too long and the Grand Slam by Calhoun was a Death Notice.

    Kole Calhoun has become one of the stars of the show at the CWS and based on this week’s work he should get a shot at The Show.

  3. Yes I am sorry that Carolina is out of the cws, but they can walk tall for the season and their accomplishments. I am puzzled though by the one sided review that the pitching staff ”lost it ” all with a combined 9 ” wild pitches” . What I saw was a catcher that couldn’t catch a cold. His defensive skills were more like a JV High School catcher. If a pitcher throws the junk and the catcher can’t catch it or at least block it, the pitcher will lose his confidence and become unaffective. Before we start chastising the entire pitching staff lets take a look at the player that can make or break the game. I’m of the opinion that with a ” Real Catcher” behind the plate we would have seen a better outcome. I hope that UNC will work as hard at finding a catcher as they do looking for the pitching stars. Lets see what happens next year. By the way, you didn’t mention how many ” passed balls ” were recorded. Regardless, I am proud of the team and this season. Good luck next year.

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