CHAPEL HILL— Peyton Stoval sparked a three-run fifth inning with a lead-off home run, Connor Noland threw 6 2/3 innings of shutout and Arkansas upset North Carolina 4-1 in the first round of Saturday’s Chapel Hill Super Regional.
Arkansas (42-19) and North Carolina (42-21), both making tenth appearances in the super region, will play again Sunday. A Razorbacks win would send them to their 11th College World Series in search of their first title. A victory for the Tar Heels would force a winner-take-all game on Monday. The two schools are playing again for the first time in 33 years.
The Razorbacks finally took the lead at the top of the fifth. Stoval hit the first pitch into right midfield for his ninth home run of the season. Zack Gregory walked, Braydon Webb singled, and both runners moved up base on a wild pitch from UNC starter Max Karlson (4-3). Slavens, who went to center to drive Gregory and Evan Wallace, followed with a sacrificial fly to flat Webb.
Gregory left and scored a goal from Slavens to make it 4-0 in the seventh round. Vance Honeycutt drove in singles for the Tar Heels with a solo home run at the bottom of eighth place.
Noland (4-2) delivered six hits and a walk and knocked out six. Hagen Smith scored a scoreless ninth place on his second save.
North Carolina has been in a Super Regional three of the last four seasons. The Tar Heels have made 11 CWS appearances but never won. They were second in 2006 and 2007. The Razorbacks have also never won the title, finishing runners-up in 1979 and 2018. The only other time UNC and Arkansas played was in 1989 CWS — a 7-3 win for the Razorbacks.
• Vance Honeycutt set the school’s singles season for home runs by hitting his 25th of the year, breaking a tie with Devy Bell, who had held the record since 1986.
• Angel Zarate garnered his 100th hit of the season with a single topping the first to become the ninth distinct Tar Heel to reach the century in a single season. He is the first ACC player since former Tar Heel Cody Stubbs 2013 to reach the milestone.
• Danny Seretti recorded his 30th multi-hit game of the season.
• Colby Wilkerson released his third consecutive two-hit game and fourth multi-hit game of the NCAA Baseball Championship.
• Carlson suffered his first loss of the postseason after winning his first three starts with victories over Clemson, NC State and Hofstra.