North Carolina and Tennessee met in a winner’s bracket Sunday night looking for a key step forward in Omaha. This time, the Vols would need no late-inning drama and the Tar Heels would not find an offensive hero late in the game.

In a game started by UNC’s Shea Sprague, the Vols would get to the starter for 4 earned runs. The big blow in that stretch came off the bat of Kavares Tears with a 3-run home run in the bottom of the 4th inning.

Meanwhile, Drew Beam was fantastic on the mound for Tennessee. Beam would cover the first 4 innings flawlessly before facing his first serious threat in the top of the 5th. A pair of 1-out walks gave North Carolina some life before Beam delivered back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.

The key moment in the game quickly followed in the 6th inning. Vance Honeycutt led off the inning with a solo home off of Beam, and Casey Cook and Parks Harber would follow with singles to put runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. That led to a pitching change with the Vols calling on Kirby Connell.

Connell did his job in impressive fashion, ending the rally with a fielder’s choice, a pickoff and a strikeout gto strand both inherited runners.

UNC’s only other threat came in the 8th inning when Honeycutt worked a lead-off walk from Nate Snead, but a quick double play wiped Honeycutt off the basepaths. Snead would issue another walk in the top of the 9th but that was all the Tar Heels would get off of him.

Led by Beam’s 5 innings and 7 strikeouts, the Vols’ pitching staff finished the game with 9 strikeouts. Tears and Reese Chapman delivered home runs for the Vols while Tears was the star of the game with 4 RBI. Christian Moore, one game removed from hitting for the cycle, went 1-for-4.

Honeycutt delivered the only run for UNC with his solo home run, finishing the night 1-for-3 with a walk. Honeycutt, Cook and Harber combined for 4 of UNC’s 5 hits in the game while the rest of the lineup finished 1-for-18 in the lackluster performance.

What’s next?

With the 6-1 win over UNC, Tennessee is now 1 win away from the CWS Finals and will get 2 chances to get the job done. The Vols will not play again until Wednesday with a 2 pm ET first pitch set for ESPN.

Meanwhile, the Tar Heels must play Tuesday in a do-or-die game against ACC rival Florida State. UNC vs. FSU will square off at 2 pm Tuesday on ESPN with the winner advancing to a rematch vs. Tennessee.