CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Tennessee got into an early hole and was unable to come back in a 5-2 loss to North Carolina in the NCAA Regional final on Sunday at Boshamer Stadium.
The loss ends the Vols season, one where Tennessee got off to its best start in program history and reached the postseason for the first time since 2005.
Zach Linginfelter, a former Sevier County standout who was making his postseason debut, got off to a rocky start against the Tar Heels. The 6-foot-5 right-hander threw five past balls in the first inning, the fifth scoring a run and giving North Carolina a 4-0 lead.
After Ashton McGee’s 2 RBI single got North Carolina on the board, Dylan Harris chipped in with an RBI single to right field. Harris, a Hardin Valley Academy alum, transferred to UNC from Walters State.
Tony Vitello pulled Lingingfelter with two outs in the first inning and turned to Morristown West alum Will Heflin. The junior held the Tar Heels scoreless over three innings of work, giving up one hit to go with three strikeouts.
Tennessee got its first run on the board before it tallied its first hit. After Alerick Soularie walked in the second inning, the left fielder would trot home from third on a past ball to make it a 4-1 game.
After Jay Charleston broke Austin Bergner’s no-hitter in the fourth inning, Soularie added an RBI single to center, cutting the Tar Heels’ lead to 4-2 in the fourth.
But Tennessee would not get much going after that. Austin Bergner struck out eight over seven innings before Joey Lancellotti closed the game. The Vols had the tying run at the plate in the ninth inning