OMAHA, Neb. — It was another rough afternoon for ACC pitcher of the year Kent Emanuel.
North Carolina's ace failed to make it out of the third inning for a second straight start, and the Tar Heels lost 8-1 to North Carolina State in their College World Series opener Sunday.
"Just not making the pitches I need to," Emanuel said. "Basically, it's simple as that."
The Tar Heels (57-11) are in Omaha for the sixth time in eight years. They lost their first game at the CWS for the third straight time.
They'll play an elimination game Tuesday against UCLA or LSU. They haven't lost back to back games all season.
"You have to rely on the leaders on your team to rally, and they've been able to do that all year long," Carolina coach Mike Fox said. "It'll be another really good team, and we'll obviously have to play better. I have confidence in my guys. It's disappointing today. I have no doubt we'll be ready Tuesday."
North Carolina State's Carlos Rodon pitched eight shutout innings to continue his mastery of North Carolina. He held the No. 1 national seed Tar Heels hitless into the fifth inning. He allowed five hits and struck out eight.
It was the sophomore left-hander's second straight dominating performance against the Tar Heels. Three weeks ago he allowed one hit and struck out 14 in 10 innings but got no decision in a 2-1, 18-inning loss in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Brett Williams, Bryan Adametz and Logan Ratledge had two hits apiece for the Wolfpack (50-14), with Ratledge driving in two runs out of the No. 9 hole.
UCLA 2, LSU 1
At Omaha, Neb., Adam Plutko and two relievers limited LSU to five hits, and UCLA turned both of the Tigers' errors into runs in a tense victory at the College World Series.
The Bruins (45-17) will play North Carolina State on Tuesday. The No. 4 national seed Tigers (57-10) will meet North Carolina in an elimination game.
LSU scored its only run on Mason Katz's fourth-inning homer. The Tigers had defensive breakdowns that allowed the Bruins to tie it in the sixth and take the lead in the eighth.
Plutko (9-3) allowed four hits in seven innings for the win. David Berg worked out of trouble in the ninth to earn his 22nd save.
Aaron Nola (12-1) gave up five singles in eight innings, and both runs against him were unearned.