BY DUDLEY E. DAWSON
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – For the second year in a row, Arkansas finds itself just one win away from a berth in the College World Series.
Razorback starting pitcher Connor Noland fired 6 2/3 innings of scoreless ball freshman Peyton Stovall delivered a fifth-inning lead off homer as the visitors downed North Carolina 4-1.
The Razorback can clinch that CWS berth with a win in a Sunday noon CST Super Regional game or a Monday if necessary contest.
Arkansas was the same position after downing North Carolina State in the opening game of the Super Regional last year in Fayetteville, but lost its last two to the Wolfpack.
Stovall broke up a scoreless tie in the fifth with his fifth home run of the season and Arkansas went on to plate three runs in the frame.
Brady Slavens, who had two RBIs, added an run-scoring single and Cayden Wallace a sacrifice fly later in the fifth against North Carolina starter Max Carlson.
Noland (7-5) escaped a first-inning, basas-loaded jam by fielding a comeback off his body and firing to first.
He pretty much hit cruise control after that while allowing six hits, fanning six, walking one and getting seven fly outs and seven ground outs in his time on the mound.
Evan Taylor got the final out of the seventh and pitched the eighth. Hagen Smith came in to close out the game.
Carlson went 5 1/3 for North Carolina while allowing the three runs on six hits.
Arkansas pushed its lead to 4-0 in the seventh after Zack Gregory and Bradyen Webb walked to lead off inning and Slavens added another run-producing hit.
North Carolina freshman all-American Vance Honeycutt hit his 25th homer of the season to cut it to 4-1.