RALEIGH — N.C. State needed everything from star pitcher Carlos Rodon to beat William & Mary once.
The Wolfpack got a little bit from everybody else on Sunday to knock the Tribe out of the NCAA tournament and advance to the Super Regional for the second straight year.
Senior first baseman Tarran Senay drove in five runs, Jake Fincher and Logan Ratledge each had three hits to help N.C. State eliminate William & Mary 9-2 on Sunday night and win the NCAA regional at Doak Field.
The Wolfpack (47-14) will face either Oregon or Rice in the best-of-3 Super Regional round. Oregon beat Rice 11-0 on Sunday to stay alive. If Oregon wins Monday, the Wolfpack will have to travel more than 2,800 miles to Eugene to face the Ducks. If Rice wins, State will host its first Super Regional.
The Pack got to baseball’s version of the Sweet 16 with a team effort on Sunday. Senay, who has been the Wolfpack’s best hitter in regional play, delivered the big hit early and freshman pitcher Brad Stone came through with his second straight strong start in the postseason.
Rodon, who pitched a shutout in Saturday’s 1-0 win over the Tribe, gives the Wolfpack an ace, but it takes more than one great pitcher to get to the College World Series.
“Carlos gets a lot of the attention because he is so good but we do have a lot of guys who probably go under the radar,” said shortstop Trea Turner.
“We have guys who can step up to the occasion and that’s what Brad did tonight.”
Stone, whose last win came March 31, pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings, and only gave up four hits.
Senay, who has been a handful in regional play, got the Wolfpack’s offense off to an early start. Senay pulled a three-run home run over the right field wall to stake Stone to a 3-0 lead. In his past four regional games, Senay has seven hits, three home runs and 12 RBI.
Not that State’s pitching needed much help. After giving up one run to Binghamton in the second inning of Friday’s game, the Pack went the next 22 and two-thirds innings without allowing another run.
The Tribe (39-24) finally scratched in the seventh inning on an RBI-double by Jackson Shaver and then the Pack got sloppy in the eighth.
The Tribe turned three errors into a run and chased reliever Ryan Wilkins with runners on first and second with one out. Up 6-2, Grant Sasser came in and struck out catcher Ryan Hissey and left fielder Jonathan Sarty to end the threat.
Turner, who scored the only run in Saturday’s game, singled and scored twice on Sunday. He also made a tough diving stop in the sixth, to help Wilkins work out of trouble in the sixth.
“They’ve got all the pieces in place,” Tribe coach Jamie Pinzino said. “They do everything pretty well. They are a very athletic team and there’s enough offense there. They have as much of a chance to go all the way, there’s no doubt about it.”
N.C. State has won 29 of the past 33 games this season and advanced to the Super Regional for the fourth time in 11 years (2003, ’08, ’12).
After the game, Wolfpack coach Elliott Avent was still trying to process the accomplishment.
“It’s just so hard,” Avent said. “It’s so hard to play well in a short time frame. Baseball is a fun game but it’s very unforgiving.”
N.C. State will watch Monday’s game between Oregon and Rice with great interest. A win by the Ducks, the No. 8 national seed, would force the Pack to go on the road. Since the regional and Super Regional format was adopted in 1999, the Pack is 13-1 as the host team and 7-20 on the road, including a 1-6 record in the Super Regional.
“We’re ready to play anybody,” Turner said. “If we have to Oregon or if Rice has to come to us, it doesn’t matter. We know we have to go through a good team to get to Omaha.”