Staring history squarely in the face, NC State vanquished some regional tournament demons Sunday, saved some arms and moved on to the NCAA super regional round by defeating host and No. 16 overall seed Louisiana Tech, 14-7, in Ruston, Louisiana.
There was no shortage of runs scored Sunday as NC State, winners of its first two games of the Ruston regional, faced a tired Louisiana Tech squad that had to play — and defeat — Alabama earlier in the day just to advance to Sunday’s nightcap. Tech toppled the Tide, 10-8, and rolled into its matchup with the Wolfpack with some momentum.
But after weathering an early Bulldog onslaught, NC State found its footing, rallying to plate six runs on six hits in the fifth inning, and four more on four hits in the sixth to break open a tight game.
Luca Tresh and Devonte Brown each homered for the Wolfpack (33-17-0) and Brown drove in a game-high five runs, while Austin Murr, Tyler McDounough and Terrell Tatum collected three hits each to pace the NC State offense, which forced the Bulldogs (42-20-0) to use six different pitchers over eight innings.
Things began inauspiciously for the Pack, though. Parker Bates blasted a two-run home run for Tech in the top of the first, and he added another two-run shot in the top of the third to stake the Bulldogs to a 4-0 advantage through two-and-a-half innings.
NC State started to chip away in the bottom half of the third, when Tatum drove in a pair with a single. The teams traded runs in the bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth before NC State broke things open in the bottom of the fifth.
Jonny Butler doubled home McDonough and Murr to tie the game at 5-5, and then Brown clobbered a 2-1 breaking ball over the wall in right field for a grand slam to put the Pack up, 9-5.
Jose Torres plated a pair in the sixth with a double for NC State, and a pair of subsequent productive outs pushed another pair of runs across to push the Pack lead to 13-5.
Louisiana Tech got within six on a home run from Hunter Wells in the seventh, but that was as close as they got. NC State added one more run in the eighth on an infield single by Murr.
NC State entered the Ruston regional as the second seed. The Wolfpack won its first two games of the weekend against Alabama (8-1 victory) and Louisiana Tech (8-3). Alabama eliminated Rider, then fell victim to the Bulldogs earlier Sunday.
NC State will face the winner of No. 1 overall seed Arkansas and Nebraska from the Fayetville regional in a best-of-3 super regional matchup.
The trip to the super regional round for NC State is the program’s first since 2013. The Wolfpack fell in regional competition three straight years, from 2015-2017, and was making its first appearance in the NCAA postseason since that run. In 2013, NC State also win its super regional and advanced to the College World Series.