DURHAM — N.C. State moved a step closer Friday to the title game of the ACC Baseball Championship.
As N.C. State coach Elliott Avent put it, one of the Wolfpacks biggest attributes this season has been team speed. That was apparent as the Wolfpack ran past Miami 7-1 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in its second tournament game.
The victory sets up another Saturday night showdown between Wolfpack (44-13) and top-seeded North Carolina. The winner will move on to Sundays title game. The loser goes home grumpy and starts planning for the NCAA tournament.
The ninth-ranked Wolfpack won its ACC tournament opener 6-3 Thursday against Clemson, using a four-run inning to break it open. N.C. State did the same to Miami, scoring four runs in the second without getting a ball out of the infield.
You get lucky sometimes and sometimes hits fall your way, said Wolfpack shortstop Trea Turner, who had an infield hit in the second. I think our speed does that to them. It puts a lot of pressure on the other team.
It did to Miami. In the second, the Wolfpacks Grant Clyde beat out a bunt single and Jake Armstrong was safe on a slow dribbler as the first run scored. The Hurricanes then rushed a throw that second baseman Alex Hernandez bobbled for an error to bring in a second Wolfpack run.
Turner grounded to short, but beat the throw to first with a lunging head-first dive as two runs scored. Just like that the Wolfpack had scored four with two outs off Miami starter Chris Diaz, a sophomore lefty.
N.C. State added add single runs in the fifth, sixth and ninth innings while Logan Jernigan, Andrew Woeck, Ryan Wilkins and Chris Overman split up the pitching. Jernigan, a sophomore right-hander, started and went the first four innings while the three relievers combined to allow one hit over the final five innings.
Left fielder Bryan Adametz, who leads the ACC with a 14-game hitting streak, had three of the Wolfpacks 11 hits, drove in two runs and also made a diving catch in the seventh to rob Miamis Tyler Palmer.
N.C. State played like a top-10 club, Miami coach Jim Morris said. Their first five runs came with two outs. Youve got to do things like that to have the number of wins theyve had over the year.
Miami, beaten 10-0 by North Carolina in its tournament opener Thursday, scored in the third on a bases-loaded walk, but Jernigan worked his way out of the jam.
Jernigan walked the first two batters in the fifth the last of his six walks but Woeck (6-1), a junior right-hander, relieved and the Wolfpack nearly ended the inning with a triple play. Miamis David Thompson just beat the throw to first.
I thought for the second game in a row we played extremely well, Avent said.
A year ago, the Wolfpack lost to North Carolina 4-0 in a 12-inning thriller in Greensboro. N.C. State last won the ACC championship in 1992, but Morris believes the Wolfpack is capable of getting it done this year.
To me, N.C. State has got maybe the best club theyve had since Ive been at Miami, in 20 years, Morris said. Theyve got good speed up front.... Theyve got a lot of good players and outstanding pitching, too, and the big leftys whos going to pitch (Saturday.).
Thats southpaw Carlos Rodon. Hell pitch against the Tar Heels as N.C. State looks to take the next step.