NC State's offense finally woke up Sunday thanks in large part to Tarran Senay, and the Wolfpack advanced to the super regionals with a 9-2 win over William & Mary. Senay finished the evening with five RBI, and he was named the regional's Most Outstanding Player.
William & Mary chose to start its closer in its elimination game against NC State, and while he has compiled impressive numbers this year, he was clearly off in the opening frame. State got a couple of guys aboard, and Senay crushed a ball over the right field fence to give the Pack an early 3-0 cushion.
Brad Stone didn't need a lot of help, though--he pitched into the sixth inning without giving up a run. It's performances like that--from the secondary guys--that deliver regional victories. At least until we figure out how to clone Carlos Rodon.
Stone had good control from the outset, striking out three and walking none. Things got a bit hairy when Ryan Wilkins replaced Stone in the sixth, but much of that had nothing to do with Wilkins. NC State's infield abruptly forgot how to baseball in the eighth, turning three ground balls into adventures (errors) rather than outs. First Trea Turner bobbled a ball at short. Grant Clyde followed that with an inaccurate throw from third to first that pulled Senay off the bag. In the third case, Senay attempted to cut down a runner at second but Turner couldn't handle the throw.
But William & Mary only got one run out of the inning despite all those miscues. Grant Sasser replaced Wilkins in the frame with one out and two runners on and he was dominant the rest of the way, leaving nothing in doubt. NC State tacked on three runs in the bottom of the eighth to chase that sense of doom we all inevitably get when something goes wrong or the wind changes direction.
So NC State is on to the supers--the only question now is where the Pack will be playing. Oregon must come out of the losers bracket in order to advance and host the Wolfpack next weekend. Rice is going to drop tonight's game against the Ducks, but if it can pull out a win Monday, NC State will host the Owls with Omaha on the line. And good god that would be amazing.