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College World Series 2024 Day 1: Tennessee and North Carolina both earn walk-off wins

Vance Honeycutt's single won Game 1, while Dylan Dreiling did the same in Game 2

The 2024 College World Series officially began on Friday in Omaha, Nebraska with national No. 1 seed Tennessee rallying in the nightcap against Florida State for a walk-off win. The afternoon's first game also ended dramatically, with North Carolina topping Virginia on a walk-off single.

Dylan Dreiling's single in the bottom of the ninth finished off a comeback win for Tennessee, scoring Blake Burke in a thrilling walk-off win over Florida State.

The Seminoles appeared to put the game away in the seventh on a two-run double by Marco Dinges off Andrew Behnke for an 11–7 lead. But Connor Whittaker gave up two runs in the eighth on a single by Dylan Dreiling. Then Brennan Oxford tried to close the game out in the ninth, but Burke's two-run single tied the game at 11–11.

Florida State apparently took control with a six-run third inning. Down 4–1, the Seminoles' first five batters reached base against Vols pitcher AJ Causey, resulting in two runs.

Causey then walked Jaxson West with the bases loaded to tie the score at 4–4. An error by Tennessee Burke at first base and a RBI triple from FSU's Cam Smith resulted in a 7–4 lead. The Seminoles piled on in the fourth with a two-run homer by Jaime Ferrer for a 9–4 margin.

Tennessee chipped away at FSU's lead in the fifth on a two-run shot from Kavares Tears, followed by a solo homer by Moore. With the home run, Moore hit for the cycle, the second player to do so in College World Series history.

The Volunteers initially looked like they would easily dispatch the Seminoles in their opener. FSU took a 1–0 lead in the first on a wild pitch by Causey, but Tennessee's first four hitters reached base in the bottom of the inning to go ahead 2–1. The Vols added two more in the second for what appeared to be comfortable 4–1 lead.

The Seminoles roared back to take what appeared to be an insurmountable lead, but that just gave Tennessee an opportunity for its first walk-off win of the season. The Volunteers will play North Carolina Sunday at 7 p.m. ET. on ESPN2.

North Carolina took the first win of the 2024 College World Series with a 3-2 walk-off victory over Virginia.

The Tar Heels claimed victory with some heroics from junior center fielder Vance Honeycutt. With the game tied 2-2 at the bottom of the ninth, Honeycutt hit a single to score Jackson Van De Brake.

Honeycutt also hit a walk-off home run to give UNC a win in the Super Regionals last weekend.

The Tar Heels took the first run of the day in the first inning, with a groundout from right fielder Anthony Donofrio to send home left fielder Casey Cook. In the third inning, the Cavaliers' hot bats set up an RBI from first baseman Henry Ford to tie things up.

Some strong defense on both sides kept the score even for a while before Virginia took the lead in the sixth inning with a sacrifice fly from shortstop Griff O'Ferrall.

In the seventh inning, UNC found its response when Cook hit an RBI double β€” with some help from a poor throw from Virginia left fielder Harrison Didawick.

The 2-2 score held through the last two innings, until Honeycutt saved the day for the Tar Heels.

Overall, defense made this game. Jason DeCaro, a freshman starting pitcher for the Tar Heels, recorded six strikeouts in five innings before he was pulled. Evan Blanco, a Cavaliers sophomore, lasted seven innings and put up four strikeouts before leaving the mound.

With the College World Series being double elimination, the Cavaliers have one more chance to stay in the tournament with a matchup against Florida State on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPN.