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Kavares Tears’ 3-run HR earns 1st in 6-1 win over North Carolina in College World Series

Kavares Tears’ 3-run HR earns 1st in 6-1 win over North Carolina in College World Series

Kavares Tears’ 3-run HR earns 1st in 6-1 win over North Carolina in College World Series

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Kavares Tears and Reese Chapman homered, Drew Beam limited North Carolina to one hit in five innings and Tennessee took control of its College World Series bracket with a 6-1 victory Sunday night.

The Volunteers (57-12), who are trying to become the No. 1 national seed. 1 since 1999 to win the championship, they will advance to the best-of-three final if they beat Florida State or North Carolina (48-15) on Wednesday. The respective teams will meet in an elimination game on Tuesday. The Vols would have to lose twice to miss out on a first Finals appearance.

Beam (9-2) limited North Carolina to three base runners through five innings and his team was ahead 4-0 when he exited for the sixth.

Tar Heels starter Shea Sprague (3-2) retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced before giving up a single and walking in the fourth. Tears then ripped a lofted changeup off the back right field wall near the North Carolina bullpen for his 20th homer of the season. Chapman, 1 for his last 15 at bats, connected for the seventh to start the bottom of the fifth to chase Sprague.

Vance Honeycutt broke through against Beam with his 27th homer of the season to start the sixth, and Casey Cook and Parks Harber singled to bring in Kirby Connell.

Connell, sporting a handlebar mustache, held the Tar Heels scoreless for two innings and turned over to Nate Snead to start the eighth.

The teams’ first meeting of 2019 began with each team making excellent defensive plays.

Carolina’s Colby Wilkerson threw a knee first to get Moore. Tennessee’s Hunter Ensley took off at a full sprint and extended his left arm to catch Anthony Donofrio’s deep fly to center just before he crashed into the wall and left his eyes smudged on the pad. Although he showed no immediate signs of injury and struck out twice, he was replaced by Colby Backus in center to start the fifth.

Game umpire Kellen Levy was replaced in the fifth by Scott Cline, who had been working at second base. Levy was hit in the mask by a foul ball in the previous inning and began to feel sick. An NCAA spokesman said Levy is being monitored for concussion symptoms. The game was delayed 16 minutes while Cline was in the referees locker room changing into protective gear.