Chapel Hill, N.C. - In a dramatic conclusion to the NCAA Chapel Hill Regional, LSU fell to North Carolina 4-3 in an intense 10-inning showdown. The Tar Heels secured their spot in the NCAA Super Regional against West Virginia with the victory.

The Tigers, who wrapped up their season with an impressive 43-23 record, battled but were undone by a go-ahead single from UNC's Alex Madera in the top of the 10th inning.

Dalton Pence, UNC's reliever, played a pivotal role, earning the win after pitching 3.2 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, two walks, and striking out four. LSU's Gage Jump, who came in at the start of the ninth inning, took the loss. Jump allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits, with two walks and three strikeouts.

Reflecting on the season, LSU coach Jay Johnson praised his team's resilience and character. "Holding the national championship trophy last year was amazing, but I'm just as proud of my team today. This has been one of the most gratifying coaching years of my life," Johnson said.

Senior right-hander Will Hellmers delivered a stellar performance in relief, pitching 5.2 shutout innings and giving up only two hits and two walks while striking out four. Johnson lauded Hellmers, calling him an "elite pitcher" and urging professional teams to take notice.

LSU's offense showed flashes of brilliance. After falling behind 2-0 in the first inning, the Tigers quickly responded. Tommy White scored on a groundout by Josh Pearson in the first, and Jake Brown tied the game with a solo home run in the third. Jared Jones then gave LSU a 3-2 lead with his 28th home run of the season.

However, North Carolina tied the game in the ninth, and Madera's clutch hit in the 10th sealed the Tigers' fate. Despite the loss, several LSU players earned spots on the Chapel Hill Regional All-Tournament Team, including catcher Alex Milazzo, first baseman Jared Jones, second baseman Steven Milam, shortstop Michael Braswell III, left fielder Josh Pearson, and pitcher Griffin Herring.

As LSU reflects on a season of highs and lows, Coach Johnson's words during the post-game press conference resonate: "The achievement, the accomplishment – that’s what we’re here to do. My heart breaks because I wanted to keep practicing with this team."

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