Woodard Pitches Carolina Past Notre Dame, 5-1

Carolina moves on to face Florida-Stetson winner at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Robert Woodard led the Tar Heels past Notre Dame Friday with his first career complete game.

Robert Woodard led the Tar Heels past Notre Dame Friday with his first career complete game.

June 3, 2005

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - All-Atlantic Coast Conference righty Robert Woodard allowed one run and six hits over his first career complete game, and third baseman Chad Flack went 3-for-4 with two runs batted in to lead No. 2 seed North Carolina (41-17-1) to a 5-1 win No. 3 seed Notre Dame (36-23-1) Friday in the opening game of the NCAA Gainesville Regional at McKethan Stadium.

With the victory, the Tar Heels move into the winner's bracket and will face either host Florida or Stetson at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Carolina has now won six straight postseason openers dating back to 1999.

After allowing a run-scoring hit in the first, Woodard retired 13 of the next 14 batters he faced before Notre Dame loaded the bases in the sixth. But Woodard, who has allowed just two earned runs over his last 21.2 innings, worked out of the jam and went on to earn his eighth win of the season and the 16th of his career against just two losses. He walked two and struck out four versus the Irish.

The complete game was just the third of the season for Carolina and first since Daniel Bard fired a two-hit shutout of Duke on April 24. Woodard has now won his last 11 decisions and has not suffered a loss since May 11, 2004 against South Carolina.

Flack, who tallied RBI singles in the first and fifth innings, matched a career high with three of the Tar Heels' 11 hits. Center fielder Chase Younts, who has seven hits over the last three games, and designated hitter Matt Ellington each added two hits on the day. Senior second baseman Greg Mangum tacked on his first home run of the season in the three-run fifth.

Notre Dame starter Tom Thornton (6-6) took the loss after allowing five runs on nine hits over four innings. Three relievers combined to keep the Tar Heels off the scoreboard over the final four innings.

Both teams found the scoring column in the first, as the Irish got an RBI single from right fielder Cody Rizzo, and first baseman Justin Webb was hit by a pitch and came around to score on a single by Flack to tie the game for the Tar Heels. Webb moved to third on a single up the middle by designated hitter Matt Ellington before Flack singled through the left side to snap a 0-for-9 skid.

Flack also led to Carolina's next run, as he singled and stole second in the third before scoring on a Josh Horton RBI base hit. Horton's single up the middle gave the Tar Heels their first lead of the afternoon and broke a 0-for-11 stretch for the Hillsborough product.

Two innings later, Carolina broke open the game with three more runs. Mangum led off the frame with a solo homer to right, just the fifth of his career and first since the NC State series to end the 2004 season. Three straight singles and the second Irish error of the afternoon led to two more Tar Heel runs and the four-run cushion. After Mangum's second career postseason homer, Webb singled to left and scored when Ellington singled to right and Rizzo allowed the hit to roll to the wall. Flack followed with his third single of the game to drive in Ellington.

Notre Dame threatened to get back in the game in the sixth with two on and no outs, but Woodard quickly picked up two outs, and left fielder Jay Cox made a strong throw on a single by Irish catcher Sean Gaston to keep Notre Dame off the scoreboard. Woodard then retired nine of the final 10 batters of the game to close out the victory.

Carolina's winner's bracket game with Stetson or Florida will be televised by CSTV at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Related Stories