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N. Carolina 3, Louisville 1

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Luke Putkonen pitched a three-hitter in a much-needed quality start to give North Carolina a 3-1 victory over Louisville in a College World Series elimination game.

The Tar Heels had only three hits but scored twice on a throwing error, but that was enough against a Louisville team whose bats went cold in the NCAA tournament. It was the second straight year that a team had converted three hits into a victory -- Oregon State did it in a 2-0 win over Rice.

North Carolina meets Rice tomorrow and has to beat the Owls twice to win its bracket and return to the best-of-three championship series. That series starts on Saturday.

Andrew Carignan struck out three of the four batters he faced for his 17th save.

Before today, Tar Heel starters had given up 32 earned runs and 47 hits in 25 and two-thirds innings during the prior seven games. Putkonen virtually shut down an offense that entered with a .370 batting average and 99 runs in ten NCAA games.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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