2024 College World Series recap: Florida State blasts North Carolina in elimination game

Florida State’s chances to win its first NCAA baseball national championship are still alive.

The Seminoles scored early and got big insurance runs in the ninth inning to beat North Carolina 9-5 in a Men's College World Series elimination game. Florida State will play top-ranked Tennessee Wednesday in the semifinals.

A big fifth inning gave Florida State a commanding 7-1 lead, but the Tar Heels stormed back to make it a two run game. Florida State then got a magnificent performance from reliever Connor Hults to prevent North Carolina from tying or taking the lead, and home runs from Jaxson West and Max Williams in the final inning solidified the win for the Seminoles.

Now, Florida State will need to beat Tennessee twice to advance to the finals for the first time since 1999. The two played a thriller in the first round on the opening day in Omaha with the Volunteers winning on a walkoff hit.

The game between Florida State and Tennessee is scheduled for Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET, after the elimination game between Kentucky and Florida at 11 a.m. ET. That all-SEC matchup was originally scheduled for Tuesday night.

USA TODAY had coverage throughout the game. Read below for a detailed recap.

Florida State starter Andrew Armstrong (37) pitches against North Carolina during the first inning at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on June 18, 2024.
Florida State starter Andrew Armstrong (37) pitches against North Carolina during the first inning at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on June 18, 2024.

Florida State shuts down North Carolina in ninth inning

Connor Hults capped off a stellar performance by holding off North Carolina in the bottom of the ninth, including a strikeout on the dangerous Vance Honeycutt. The Tar Heels only managed to get a walk in the ninth inning.

Florida State adds back-to-back home runs to pad lead

Florida State got some big insurance runs to begin the ninth inning as Jaxson West and Max Williams hit back-to-back home runs to extend the lead to 9-5.

Florida State three outs away from eliminating North Carolina

What a performance from Connor Hults.

The Florida State reliever has held North Carolina at bay and has prevented the Tar Heels from tying or taking the lead. He has given up only two hits in three innings, and the Seminoles head into the ninth inning with a 7-5 lead.

Florida State not cashing in on baserunners

Florida State is on its way to surviving the elimination game, but if North Carolina comes back to win, the Seminoles will regret the number of baserunners they have left on the field. Through seven innings, Florida State has left 12 runners on base, compared to North Carolina's four. The Seminoles lead 7-5.

North Carolina gets out of bases loaded jam

North Carolina stormed back to make it a ballgame, and it prevented Florida State from extending the lead again.

Matt Poston walked three Seminole batters in the top of the sixth inning to give Florida State bases loaded with two outs. Scott Forbes opted to take Poston out and bring in Cameron Padgett. It turned out to be the right call, as Padgett struck out Drew Faurot to end the inning and stop the scoring threat.

Big three run home run puts North Carolina back in game

Vance Honeycutt continues to mash.

He entered the day with five home runs in the 2024 NCAA Tournament, the most of any player. He added another one on Tuesday, a pivotal three-run home run off Conner Whittaker to make it 7-4 and put North Carolina back in the game.

The home run came after Alex Madera and Colby Wilkerson got on base, which chased Florida State pitcher Andrew Armstrong out of the game. Honeycutt was the first batter Whittaker faced in the game.

The Tar Heels weren't done scoring in the bottom of the fifth. After the homer, three straight North Carolina batters got on base, capped off by an RBI single from Jackson Van De Brake to cut the deficit by two runs.

Kentucky vs. Florida elimination game postponed

The College World Series schedule called for two elimination games on Tuesday, but the second one will have to wait until Wednesday. Due to severe weather in the forecast for Tuesday night in Omaha, the Kentucky vs. Florida elimination game has been postponed to Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. ET.

The winner of that game will play Texas A&M.

Florida State extends lead with big inning

North Carolina's Dalton Pence is one of the best pitchers for the Tar Heels, but Florida State hasn't been fazed by the left-hander, adding four runs in the fifth inning to get a commanding 7-1 lead over North Carolina.

Florida State got six hits in the top of the fifth, including RBI singles from Daniel Cantu, Alex Lodise, Jaxon West and Max Williams to break the game open. Pence was taken out after he gave up the fourth run of the inning.

North Carolina gets on the board

North Carolina has scored its first run of the game, thanks to the top of the lineup coming up clutch with two outs.

Vance Honeycutt hit a deep fly ball to left field, and Florida State's Jaime Ferrer was unable to make the diving catch, resulting in a double. On the next at-bat, Casey Cook drilled the ball down the right field line, easily scoring Honeycutt on a double to make it a 3-1 game after three innings.

Florida State adds more runs without a hit

No bat (or hit) was needed for the Seminoles to make it a 3-0 game.

Aidan Haugh got Max Williams out to start the top of the third, but things unraveled after that. He walked Cam Smith and James Tibbs III before he hit Marco Dinges with the pitch. Loading the bases was enough for UNC coach Scott Forbes to see and he took out his starter for Matthew Matthijs. Unfortunately, the reliever had to face FSU power hitter Jaime Ferrer. Matthijs didn't challenge Ferrer and walked him on five pitches to bring in the second run of the game.

Forbes took Matthijs out and brought in one of his best relievers in Dalton Pence. With the bases loaded, Daniel Cantu flew out to center field which was plenty deep enough for Tibbs to score. Alex Lodise popped out to end the inning, and the Seminoles finished the innings with two more runs without a hit.

Florida State strikes first

The Seminoles are on the board.

After Jaime Ferrer drew a walk and Daniel Cantu hit single to shallow left field, second baseman Drew Faurot lined a single up the middle to bring in Ferrer from second base and give Florida State a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning.

North Carolina, Florida State go down 1-2-3 in 1st

It was a quiet first inning with both teams retiring the side in order to start the day.

After throwing three consecutive balls to start the game, North Carolina's Aidan Haugh threw three straight strikes afterward to strike out leadoff hitter Max Williams. After Cam Smith popped out on the second at-bat, Hough got another strikeout on James Tibbs III to retire the side in the top of the first.

In the bottom of the first, Andrew Armstrong struck out Vance Honeycutt and then got Casey Cook and Parks Harber to ground out to end the inning.

Florida State vs. North Carolina: TV, time, streaming and how to watch

  • Date: Tuesday, June 18

  • Time: 2 p.m. ET

  • Cable TV: ESPN

  • Streaming: ESPN+fuboTV, YouTube TV

North Carolina starting lineup

  • Vance Honeycutt, CF

  • Casey Cook, LF

  • Parks Harber, 1B

  • Anthony Donofrio, RF

  • Jackson Van de Brake, DH

  • Luke Stevenson, C

  • Gavin Gallagher, 3B

  • Alex Madera, 2B

  • Colby Wilkerson, SS

Junior right-hander Aidan Haugh will get the start for the Tar Heels. Haugh has appeared in 21 games, including seven starts, and has compiled a 4-2 record with a 4.53 ERA in 51 ⅔ innings.

Florida State starting lineup

  • Max Williams, CF

  • Cam Smith, 3B

  • James Tibbs III, RF

  • Marco Dinges, DH

  • Jaime Ferrer, LF

  • Daniel Cantu, 1B

  • Alex Lodise, SS

  • Drew Faurot, 2B

  • Jaxson West, C

Senior lefty Andrew Armstrong will start on the mound for the Seminoles. Armstrong has gone 5-0 with a 6.98 ERA in eight starts this season. He's made 22 appearances and logged 38 ⅔ innings.

Florida State vs. North Carolina: Odds, spread and lines for College World Series

Florida State is favored to win Tuesday's game, according to the BetMGM college baseball odds. Looking to wager? Check out the best mobile sports betting apps offering 2024 sports betting promos.

Odds listed as of Tuesday afternoon.

  • Spread: Florida State (-1.5)

  • Moneyline: Florida State (-125); North Carolina (-105)

  • O/U: 9.5

College World Series bracket

Elimination games will be denoted with an asterisk (*). Away teams listed first. All times Eastern.

Tuesday, June 18

  • *Game 9: Florida State vs. North Carolina, 2 p.m.

  • *Game 10: Florida vs. Kentucky, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, June 19

  • Game 11: Texas A&M vs. Tennessee, 2 p.m.

    • Elimination game for Game 9 winner

  • Game 12: Winner of Game 10 vs. Winner of Game 8, 7 p.m.

    • Elimination game for Game 10 winner

Thursday, June 20

Times TBD.

  • Bracket 1 final: Only necessary if Game 9 winner beats Tennessee in Game 11

  • Bracket 2 final: Only necessary if Game 10 winner beats Game 8 winner

Men's College World Series Finals

Best-of-three series between Bracket 1 winner and Bracket 2 winner.

  • Game 1: Saturday, June 22, 7:30 p.m.

  • Game 2: Sunday, June 23, 2 p.m.

  • Game 3 (if necessary): Monday, June 24, 7 p.m.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College World Series 2024: Florida State tops North Carolina Tuesday