In the longest game in NCAA Baseball Super-Regional history, N.C. State battled back from a two-run deficit to defeat Rice, clinching a berth in the College World Series for the first time since the 1968 season. The win marks the team's 49th of the season, tied with the 1993 campaign for the most in school history.
“We talk about routine all the time,” head coach Elliott Avent said. “If you stick with things, then occasionally it will break down and happen in your favor, and that’s what this club does, and I’m very proud of them.”
After a 77-minute rain delay, senior center fielder Brett Williams knocked home senior first baseman Tarran Senay for the go-ahead run in the seventeenth inning to give the Cardiac Pack a 5-4 victory.
“This is the seniors’ last go-around, so this win is special to us,” Senay said. “It doesn’t matter how we got the win. It was just important that we got the win and that we’re heading to Omaha.”
State used nine pitchers in 17 innings with sophomore Logan Jernigan getting the start. Senior pitcher Ethan Ogburn (5-3) stepped in and earned the clinching win for N.C. State with five innings of shutout ball.
Rice jumped out to an early 1-0 and held it through the ninth inning, when the Owls led the Pack 4-1 with three outs remaining to extend the series to a third game-- but State once again rallied, tying the game 4-4.
Sophomore right fielder Jake Fincher played the role of hero for the second consecutive game, drilling a shot down the first base line, scoring two runs, cutting the Rice lead to 4-3. Senay followed with a RBI double, scoring Fincher and tying the game.
Eight innings later, Williams' run-scoring double put the program back in Omaha for the first time since 1968.
N.C. State will play the winner of the UNC-Chapel Hill and South Carolina Super Regional bracket.