OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — North Carolina made UCLA star closer David Berg reel but couldn't close the deal.
The Tar Heels twice loaded the bases against the National Stopper of the Year in the ninth inning Friday night but could only push across one run in a 4-1 loss to UCLA at the College World Series.
"The end of the year, it always stinks," Carolina coach Mike Fox said. "What we did in the ninth inning is just indicative of our kids and how we played all year. Just fighting until the very end."
The elimination of North Carolina (59-12), which set a school record for wins, means the Atlantic Coast Conference will go without a national title in baseball again. The last ACC team to win the championship was Wake Forest in 1955.
Carolina also became the latest No. 1 national seed to fail to win the championship. The only No. 1 seed to win the title was Miami in 1999, the first year of the current NCAA tournament format.
"Hopefully people feel like we played hard every game and represented college athletics and college baseball the right way," Fox said. "The winning is part of it certainly, but so many other special things went on throughout our season."
Pat Valaika's two-run double gave UCLA some cushion before Berg survived the ninth.
The Bruins (47-17) will begin the best-of-three finals Monday against Mississippi State, which eliminated Oregon State with a 4-1 win in the afternoon.
"I'm proud of our team, but we still haven't accomplished what we came to do," UCLA coach John Savage said. "On to the next round."
Both starters went six innings, with the Bruins' Grant Watson (9-3) allowing four hits and Kent Emanuel (11-5) giving up five singles and striking out seven.
The Bruins scored single runs in the second and sixth innings and made it 4-0 in the seventh on Valaika's double.
North Carolina threatened in the fourth and seventh innings but couldn't push across any runs until the ninth, and then it wasn't enough.