OMAHA, Neb. Alan Ahmady hit the go-ahead single in the fifth inning, five Fresno State pitchers combined to hold North Carolina scoreless for all but one inning and the upstart Bulldogs continued to surprise with a 5-3 victory in the College World Series on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs (44-29), the first No. 4 regional seed to reach the CWS, have won two straight in Omaha to take control of Bracket 2. They need one more win to reach the best-of-three championship round that starts next Monday.
North Carolina (52-13), the No. 2 national seed, will meet LSU in an elimination game Thursday, with the winner facing Fresno on Friday. If the Bulldogs lose, they'll play the same opponent Saturday in an elimination game.
The Bulldogs, who opened the CWS with a 17-5 win over Rice, knocked out Tar Heels starter Adam Warren (9-2) in the fifth after opening the inning with three straight singles. Brian Moran came on and gave up Ahmady's two-run single that gave Fresno State a 4-3 lead.
Ryan Overland homered leading off the second inning, marking the first time North Carolina had trailed in a game since the fifth inning of its regional opener against UNC Wilmington.
The Tar Heels went up 3-1 in the third on three run-scoring hits: a triple by Tim Fedroff, double by Kyle Seager and single by Chad Flack.
Steve Susdorf hit the Bulldogs' second homer of the game and sixth of the CWS to pull Fresno to 3-2 in the fourth. Then, Ahmady delivered his bases-loaded hit against Moran in the fifth.
Rob Wooten, Carolina's closer, allowed one run on three hits the rest of the way, including Erik Wetzel's RBI single in the eighth for Fresno's final run.
Fresno starter Justin Miller worked four innings, allowing all three runs on seven hits. Jason Breckley (3-2), the third pitcher, worked just a third of an inning to get the win. Brandon Burke allowed one hit in 1 1/3 innings for his 13th save.
Carolina had 11 hits but left runners in scoring position in three of the last five innings.Danny Muno reached base five times for Fresno on three singles, a walk. He also was hit by a pitch. Wetzel went 3-for-5.
LSU 6, RICE 5: Blake Dean hit a three-run double off the left-field wall in the bottom of the ninth inning to keep LSU alive.
Dean drove Cole St. Clair's 1-0 pitch on a line to the fence, and he was mobbed by teammates shortly after he arrived at second base. The celebration was the culmination of LSU's rally from a 5-0 deficit. The Tigers were two outs away from losing a sixth straight game in Omaha since winning the 2000 national title.
The Tigers had scored a run in the seventh and eighth innings to pull to 5-2 against St. Clair. In the ninth, Michael Hollander hit an RBI single before Jared Mitchell reached on an error to load the bases.
Dean then delivered the big hit.
LSU (49-18-1) plays Thursday against the loser of Tuesday night's Bracket 2 game between Fresno State and North Carolina.
Rice ends the season 47-15.
The Owls led 5-0 after Rick Hague's two-run single in the second, Jared Gayhart's RBI triple in the fifth, Aaron Luna's homer in the sixth and Diego Seastrunk's RBI single in the seventh.
At that point, it looked as if Rice was on its way to advancing and, along the way, restoring its reputation for tough pitching.