OMAHA, Neb. — North Carolina loves to play from ahead. LSU prefers to come from behind.
So with the score tied at Rosenblatt Stadium in the ninth inning, something — or someone — had to give during Friday's weather-postponed elimination game in the College World Series.
And it came in the form of UNC catcher Tim Federowicz, whose grand slam over the left field wall beat LSU 7-3 and kept UNC's NCAA title hopes alive.
The second-seeded Tar Heels advanced to play Fresno State at 7 p.m. Saturday. They must beat the Bulldogs twice to advance to their third straight best-of-three championship series.
The score was tied 3-3 in the top of the ninth, with one out, when UNC shortstop Ryan Graepel doubled to the right center wall. LSU pitcher Louis Coleman intentionally walked Dustin Ackley, and the Tar Heels inserted Mark Fleury to pinch hit for Kyle Shelton.
Graepel and Ackley advanced to second and third bases, respectively, on a wild pitch. After Fleury struck out swinging, Fedroff — who hadn't made a hit since Thursday's first inning — was intentionally walked to load the bases.
That brought up Federowicz, who on a 1-1 count slammed UNC's first home run of this College World Series. It marked the sixth post-season homer of his career, and his third in Omaha.
It gave the Tar Heels a 7-3 cushion that even the rally-prone Tigers couldn't overcome.
The Tar Heels, which began Friday with a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, were still up 2-1 when lightning and hail delayed play, again, for nearly an hour and a half in the third inning.
They extended their cushion in the top of the fifth, when LSU intentionally walked Tim Fedroff to load the bases, then Federowicz hit into a fielder's choice that scored Ryan Graepel, who had begun the inning with a walk.
That made it 3-1.
But the Tigers, winners of 26 of their previous 28 games — including 19 when facing a deficit — were bound to rally.
In the bottom of the sixth, LSU first-baseman Matt Clark — who now leads the nation with 28 home runs, including one off UNC's Alex White last Sunday — blasted a two-run shot over the right-field wall off UNC reliever Brian Moran to tie the score, 3-3.
Reliever Rob Wooten, UNC's fourth pitcher of the game, came in at the bottom of the seventh and struck out two straight Tigers before the inning ended with a pop fly.
But in the bottom of the eighth, Wooten couldn't grab a hit by left fielder Jared Mitchell, allowing him to reach base on an error.
The Tar Heels then inserted ACC Pitcher of the Year Alex White (12-3) for his third relief appearance this season — first since March 15.
White had not allowed a run in four innings out of the bullpen this year, but he walked the next two batters to load the bases.
After a conference with pitching coach Scott Forbes and the rest of the infield at the mound, White got shortstop D.J. LeMahieu to fly out to second baseman Kyle Seager.
Then UNC third baseman Chad Flack threw out LSU's Leon Landry at third base to escape the inning.
And the Tar Heels had hope, leading to the first CWS grand slam since 2001.
BRIEFLY: UNC first baseman Dustin Ackley tied a school record by recording his ninth career four-hit game. With one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, play was briefly interrupted when a streaker jumped over the right center field fence and got all the way to center field before members of the grounds crew tackled him.