Elliott Avent chose the calculated route for NC State's Fort Worth regional opener against Stony Brook. The Wolfpack opted to start Curt Britt, and save Brian Brown for Saturday. That move worked out spectacularly, as Britt and Will Gilbert combined to toss a six-hit shutout. The Pack defeated Stony Brook, 3-0, setting up another huge game in the winners' bracket on Saturday.
Stony Brook wasn't nearly as cute on Friday and went with their workhorse--it was the right move for the Seawolves, as Daniel Zamora kept them within striking distance all afternoon. Stony Brook threatened on several occasions but couldn't come up with the big hit that could have sent this game down to the wire.
NC State didn't break through until the fifth inning when Logan Ratledge hit a two-run shot to left. The Pack added an insurance run on a Josh McLain single in the eighth, then worked around a couple of singles in the ninth to close out the Seawolves.
With the victory, State is through to the winners' bracket game on Saturday night, most likely against TCU. The Wolfpack will start Brian Brown in that contest, and it'll have a bunch of options out of the pen thanks to the clutch efforts from Britt and Gilbert. Needing only two pitchers to get out of the first game is huge, and could pay off if State has to go deep (read: loses a game) this weekend.
For now, circumstances are about as good as they could be.