CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Rankin Woley hit a three-run double in the eighth inning and Edouard Julien slugged a three-run homer in the ninth as Auburn scored nine runs in the final two frames, rallying for an 11-7 win over host North Carolina in an NCAA super regional opener Saturday afternoon.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series is this morning at 11:30; a third game, if necessary, would be Monday at 1 p.m. Winners of the eight super regionals advance to the College World Series, which starts next weekend in Omaha, Nebraska.
North Carolina starter Tyler Baum left with a 4-2 lead and one out in the top of the seventh inning, having allowed just four hits, but five Tar Heels relievers gave up nine runs on six hits. Before the late outburst, the only runs for the Tigers (37-25) came on a two-run homer by Steven Williams in the fifth.
In the eighth, Auburn's Conor Davis hit an RBI double and another run scored on a wild pitch before before Woley's double to right center gave the Tigers their first lead at 7-5. A single and two walks loaded the bases in the ninth, when Kason Hollard hit a sacrifice fly before Julien's drive to right field for his ninth home run this year.
North Carolina (45-18) scored twice in the ninth but couldn't complete its own comeback.
Auburn starter Jack Owen gave up four runs on eight hits, and Elliott Anderson (7-2) took over in the sixth with Cody Greenhill pitching the last two innings for his 12th save of the season.
Joey Lancellotti (6-3), who gave up Woley's double, took the loss without recording an out.
North Carolina is the No. 14 seed overall in the NCAA tournament, which started last week with 64 teams and 16 regionals. Auburn already has eliminated an even higher seed, going 3-0 in the regional hosted by No. 3 Georgia Tech and beating the Yellow Jackets twice to move on to the super regional in Chapel Hill.