Written by Mike Kelly
Saturday, 18 June 2011 18:11
It didn't turn out like Patrick Johnson had hoped.
The senior from St. Stephens High School in Hickory got the starting nod Saturday afternoon for the University of North Carolina (50-15) in the opening game of the College World Series. Unfortunately, he committed an error and coughed up an unearned run in the first inning as Vanderbilt, making its CWS debut, defeated the Tar Heels 7-3 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, NE.
Johnson (13-2) lasted six innings and coughed up five runs, four earned in suffering the loss, which snapped a personal seven-game winning streak (he had a 0.60 earned-run-average during that stretch) for the righthander. He walked two and struck out five. Conner Harrell was the hitting star for Vanderbilt (53-10).
Trailing 3-2, Harrell belted a two-run homer off Johnson, highlighting a three-run sixth inning, that put the Commodores on top to stay. Tony Kemp added three hits, a run scored and an RBI for Vanderbilt. The Tar Heels were paced by Colin Moran, who was 3-4 with a home run and two RBI. But the Tar Heels also victimized themselves by leaving 16 men on base.
The loss drops UNC into the losers bracket. The Tar Heels will play Texas Monday afternoon in an elimination game at 1 pm. Vanderbilt plays Florida Monday night at 6 pm. Floorida defeated Texas 8-4 Saturday night.
VANDERBILT 7, NORTH CAROLINA 3
FLORIDA 8, TEXAS 4
VIRGINIA v. CALIFORNIA 2 PM
TEXAS A&M v. SOUTH CAROLINA 7 PM