On a night when it seemed that both Mother Nature and #NCStateSh!t might have other ideas, Wolfpack Baseball (49-14) would scratch and claw for everything it got and persevere.Â Eventually, after 17 innings and a 77 minute rain delay, the Pack would find a way to get it done as they have so often this season.
More than 7 hours after it began the Pack would top the Rice Owls by a final score of 5-4 to win the Raleigh Super Regional and advance to the College World Series in Omaha for the first time since 1968.
State found themselves in an early hole when Rice’s Christian Stringer jerked a solo HR in the 1st inning to give the Owls a 1-0 advantage.Â Stringer would then add another solo shot in 6th, his 3rd of the series, to double the Owl lead.
A Jake Fincher RBI in the top of the 7th would cut the lead in half, but when Rice’s Michael Aquino blasted his own solo HR out to left in the bottom of the 7th, and then the Owls gave the Pack a taste of their own medicine by squeezing home another in the 8th to extend their lead to 4-1, it looked as if the Pack’s Omaha fortunes might rest on the results of a possible Monday rubber match.
But down to their last three outs and needing at least three runs, the Pack went to work.
A Jake Fincher RBI double would plate one run for the Pack, and another would score when the Owls’ Michael Ratteree misplayed the ball in right field.Â Two batters later Tarran Senay would get his own RBI double to right to knot the score at 4 and force extra innings.
And then, as if anyone was surprised, the two teams would begin a marathon.
Both teams had their chances to score in the extra frames but each time it seemed fate snuffed them out.Â A weather delay would then interrupt the 12th inning, and when the game resumed 77 minutes later it seemed that both teams had settled in for the duration.
Wolfpack reliever Chris Overman would return to the hill for the Pack after the rain delay and pick up where he left off snuffing out a would be Owls’ rally by inducing a double play.Â Then Ethan Obgurn would come on for the Pack in the 13th and turn in perhaps the best performance of his career.
Holding the Owls scoreless the rest of the way, Ogburn was able to give the Pack hitters time to figure out Owls’ pitcher John Simms, which they finally did after the Rice hurler had tossed 7 innings of relief work.
Senay would lead off the 17th inning with a single thru the right side, and Brett Williams followed two batters later with a double.Â Another Owls’ error in right would score Senay on the play, giving the Pack a 5-4 edge.
But give the Owls credit.Â They had absolutely no intentions of going quietly in their half of the 17th.Â They would get the potential winning run aboard with the potential tying run as far as third base with the night’s big stick, Christian Stringer, coming to bat to face Obgurn.
But on this night Ogburn’s big overhand curve was working well for him and his ability to mix velocity and location kept the Owls’ batters off balance.Â Stringer would do no more than lift a weak fly ball the other way to left field, which Bryan Adametz would haul in easily for the final out to preserve the 5-4 win and send the Pack to Omaha.
Ogburn would go 5.0 innings scattering 3 hits and giving up no runs to earn the win (5-3).Â He struck out 6 and walked no one on the night.
Jake Fincher was 2 for 7 on the night with a double and 2 RBIs, while Tarran Senay would also post a 2 for 7 effort with a double and an RBI of his own.Â Trea Turner had a three hit night as did Brett Williams, while Jake Armstrong and Logan Ratledge would each hit safely twice on the night.
NC State Advances to College World Series (GoPack.com)
N.C. State Wolfpack is back in College World Series, first time since ’68, with 17-inning win (CharlotteObserver.com)
NC State wins in record fashion (ESPN.com)
NC State tops Rice 5-4 in 17 inings, advances to College World Series (WRALSportsFan.com)
The Wolfpack now moves on to the College World Series for the first time in 45 years, which gets underway this Saturday, June 15th in Omaha.Â The Pack awaits the results of Monday night’s game three in Chapel Hill between the Heels and the ‘Cocks to find out who its first round opponent will be.
Way to go Wolfpack!!!Â We are all VERY PROUD!!!Â Now, go get some rest and get ready to burn Omaha to the ground.