It's hard to imagine that a No. 2 seed might be playing for its NCAA tournament life, but NC State's postseason fate was by no means set in stone as the ACC title game got underway Saturday night. The ACC's relatively weak standing in RPI terms had the Pack in limbo.
But none of that matters now. Caitlin Dent drove in the Wolfpack's only run in the third inning, and pitcher Emily Weiman took care of the rest. Weiman struggled with her control early on and had some lengthy and stressful innings as a result, but she was able to get out of trouble every time. As the game progressed, she settled into a groove, and the last couple of innings were without much worry.
Dent was one of the few Wolfpack batters who seemed to have a feel for FSU starter Lacey Waldrop, whose filthy changeup fooled NC State hitters all day. In addition to her RBI single, Dent also crushed a ball into the left-center gap in the sixth. Singles by Lana Van Dyken and Renada Davis preceded Dent's RBI grounder in the third; had it been cleanly handled by the diving FSU second baseman, it might have been an out at first. As it was, the ball caromed off her glove, allowing Van Dyken to score from second.
NC State's defense, meanwhile, was outstanding. Chelsea Tate got the Pack out of trouble in the first with a diving grab in shallow right field that started a double play. First baseman Leah Jones stretched out to make a nice grab for an out on an errant throw from one of the Pack's infielders. Davis had her moments at short as well.
So no more worries now. NC State is in the NCAAs; now it's just a matter of where the Pack is going. I don't think whichever regional host gets them is going to be very happy to see them.