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NC State advances to play South Carolina with 5-1 win over Campbell

Surviving and advancing.

Miami v NC State Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

Pitching carried the day for NC State, which limited Campbell to just one run on 10 hits to pick up an always-critical regional-opening victory. The Wolfpack limited the power-heavy Camels to zero extra-base hits.

State’s offense, meanwhile, had six extra-baggers, including a trio of solo home runs. Gino Groover had two of those, including his first inning shot on a 3-1 pitch to get his team rolling.

The Pack is always better when Groover is hitting, and he definitely made the most of his NCAA tournament debut. Trevor Candalaria had himself a day as well, finishing 4-4 with a solo home run that made the score 5-1 in the 8th.

Elliott Avent’s decision to start Chase Nixon proved a shrewd move, as the freshman reached on all three of his plate appearances, and notched an RBI double to make the score 3-0 NC State in the 3rd. Avent loaded the middle of the lineup with lefty bats to counter Campbell’s righty ace Cade Kuehler, and it paid off.

Kuehler was able to rebound and keep NC State off the scoreboard for the next three innings, but State’s pitching staff had all the cushion it needed. Logan Whitaker went 4-1/3 innings, working around five hits and a couple of walks to keep Campbell scoreless.

Whitaker was spelled by Rio Britton, who ran into trouble in the sixth—and that set up the biggest moment of the game. Justin Lawson entered with two outs and the bases loaded, the Pack’s lead now perilous at 3-1, and proceeded to strike out Bryce Arnold on three pitches.

Lawson stepped up large in this one, surrendering just one hit over the final three innings to close out the victory. Can’t say enough about his performance.

NC State will face South Carolina, which walloped Central Connecticut State 19-1 Friday night, on Saturday at 6 p.m. Television coverage has yet to be announced.