Omaha, Neb. Chad Flack hit a leadoff triple and rumbled home to score the go-ahead run on a passed ball in the eighth inning, leading North Carolina to a 4-3 victory over Oregon State in the opening game of the College World Series championship round Saturday night.
The Tar Heels (54-13) need to beat the Beavers (48-16) once more in the best-of-three series for their first national title in baseball.
With the game tied at 3 in the eighth, Flack hit a hard liner into the right-field corner and slid into third with a triple. With Jay Cox at the plate, reliever Joe Paterson threw an inside pitch that tipped off catcher Mitch Canham's mitt and rolled to the backstop.
Flack, 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, took off for home as Canham recovered the ball and tossed it to Paterson at the plate - but Flack slid headfirst ahead of the tag.
In the ninth, reliever Jonathan Hovis (8-2) issued a leadoff walk to Chris Kunda, but Andrew Carignan came on after Canham's sacrifice and struck out Darwin Barney and John Wallace for his 15th save.
The Tar Heels are trying to become the first Atlantic Coast Conference team to win the College World Series since Wake Forest in 1955.
Paterson (1-1), who came on in relief of starter Dallas Buck, took the loss for Oregon State.
Oregon State took a 3-2 lead in the sixth on Cole Gillespie's two-run homer off starter Andrew Miller.