Despite the Wolfpack's heroics on Saturday night, there was a good chance it would come to this. A Monday night showdown, with the winner moving on to the Super Regionals. TCU won twice Sunday to stave off elimination, including an 8-2 win over the Pack.
You will find few teams better equipped to work out from under the losers' bracket than TCU, which has a weekend starter to spare for Monday. Most teams are a patchwork of shrugs by this point in a regional, but the Frogs' pitching depth has made this entire affair somewhat routine. What a luxury that is.
TCU will start Alex Young, who is 9-2 with a 2.05 ERA on the season. He has 77 strikeouts and 19 walks in 79 innings--and again, this is a guy the Frogs were comfortable saving for the last possible game of the regional. It's not supposed to work that way.
The Frogs burned through their other starters but got a clutch complete-game effort from Tyler Alexander on Sunday, so they have plenty of bullpen options as well. No doubt closer Riley Ferrell--the man Chance Shepard crushed to turn Saturday's game--will be ready.
NC State has a lot to work with too, it's just that we're left without the comfort of a weekend starter. Elliott Avent burned Ryan Williamson and Cory Wilder on Sunday, leaving Johnny Piedmonte as the likely starter Monday night. Joe O'Donnell is available, having made only a brief cameo, as is Tommy DeJuneas, who to this point has spent more time in the field than on the mound. Jon Olczak hasn't pitched in this series, either.
That's a solid committee, if Avent needs it. Any one of those guys can go long if they're pitching well. But the advantage here is clearly in TCU's favor.