NC State Books First CWS Berth Since 1968

NC State won two nail-biters against Rice in the Raleigh Super Regional, earning the program’s first trip to the College World Series since 1968.

The Wolfpack provided ninth-inning heroics in both games of the series. On Saturday, Rice took a 3-2 lead in the top of the ninth with a Christian Stringer RBI double. NC State rallied in the home half, scoring two runs on a Logan Ratledge RBI fielder’s choice and a Jake Fincher single to score Jake Armstrong for the win.

Sunday’s game two looked far more grave for NC State in the ninth inning, as the Owls carried a 4-1 lead into the final frame of regulation. However, Tarran Senay capped a rally with an RBI double to bring home Fincher and tie the game, 4-4.

As has been the trend with the Wolfpack and their neighbors in Chapel Hill this postseason, the game carried on into extra innings. During the 12th inning, there was a 77-minute rain delay, prolonging the game. Finally, seven hours after the game’s start, Brett Williams doubled home Senay to give the Wolfpack a 5-4 lead. Ethan Ogburn, who pitched the last five innings of relief, worked out of a jam to close out the Owls and secure the College World Series berth.

Indiana made history of its own, booking a trip to its first-ever College World Series by sweeping Florida State.

The Hoosiers took a 9-6 lead in the seventh inning of game one, scoring four runs in the frame. Indiana added an insurance run in the eighth, with Tim O’Conner scoring on an error. That proved to be crucial, as a Florida State rally in the ninth scored a run, but stranded the tying and winning runs on second and third in a 10-9 loss.

Any similar drama left game two after the fifth inning. Florida State appeared poised for an offensive explosion, scoring three runs in the top of the fifth and chasing Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Aaron Slegers from the game. The big inning tied the game, 5-5, but Sam Travis launched a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth to give Indiana a 7-5 advantage. From there, it was all Hoosiers, as Indiana claimed an 11-6 win.

Virginia is on the verge of elimination at this writing. In the first game of the Charlottesville Super Regional, Mississippi State defeated Virginia 11-6. The Bulldogs dominated the game, racking up 20 base hits while Virginia committed four errors.

Game two is currently suspended after rain rolled through the area last night. In the bottom of the sixth, Mississippi State leads Virginia 5-3, with Kyle Crockett facing first-round draft pick Hunter Renfroe. The game will resume 4:00 PM tonight. Virginia must win the game to force a rubber match in the series, which would be played 55 minutes after the conclusion of Game Two.

North Carolina and South Carolina will play the third game of their series at 7:00 PM tonight. North Carolina’s starting pitchers have struggled in the Super Regional, leading to plenty of work for their bullpen. In Saturday’s opener, Kent Emanuel left after 2 1/3 innings, in which he surrendered four runs. Sunday starter Hobbs Johnson lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up five runs.

The Tar Heel offense made up for Emanuel on Saturday, taking a 5-4 lead in the sixth inning on a two-RBI single by Brian Holberton. The Gamecocks equalized in the eighth on a Chase Vergason double to score Kyle Martin, setting the stage for another dramatic conclusion on Tobacco Road.

In the bottom of the ninth, South Carolina intentionally walked Colin Moran to put runners on first and second with two outs for freshman Skye Bolt. Bolt delivered a single through the right side of the infield, allowing Parks Jordan to score the game-winning run.

There was no such drama on Sunday. South Carolina hurler Jordan Montgomery tossed a four-hit complete game shutout, stymying Tar Heel batters. The Gamecocks rolled to an 8-0 win, forcing tonight’s third game. The winner of the rubber match will advance to Omaha and face NC State to open the tournament.


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