PHOTOS: Auburn vs. North Carolina, Super Regional Game 3

Auburn's Judd Ward celebrates his home run in the Tigers' 13-run rally in the bottom of the first inning Monday in the team's Super Regional showdown with North Carolina at Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. (Justin Lee/jlee@oanow.com)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The Auburn fans shouted out into the blue Carolina sky, up high on Chapel Hill.

The Tigers are going to the College World Series for the first time since 1997.

Auburn beat North Carolina 14-7 in the winner-take-all Game 3 of the teams’ Super Regional showdown on Monday afternoon in the NCAA Tournament.

The Tigers rolled up 13 of their runs in a thrilling opening inning, racing around the bases on hit after hit, each one pushing Auburn closer to its dream in Omaha, Neb. — while those fans that made the trip in orange and blue celebrated history together with shouts of “War Eagle” behind the Auburn dugout.

Auburn’s among the last eight teams standing the tournament, headed to Omaha for the College World Series starting Saturday. Auburn’s going to the big stage for the fifth time ever in program history.

Auburn’s magic ride has carried the Tigers through tragedy and triumph. Auburn head coach Butch Thompson choked back tears in recent interviews talking about the death of the program’s long-time lead announcer Rod Bramblett. The Tigers won Monday with two stickers on the back of their batting helmets, one featuring Bramblett’s “RB” initials, and the other the “Lee County Strong” decal recognizing the fatal March 4 tornado that ripped through Beauregard near Auburn’s campus.

Now, the Tigers are carrying those symbols with them to the College World Series.

“To see the perseverance and these young men rally around one another — I am proud to be their coach,” Thompson said after the win.

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