Rain delay gives Wolfpack, Owls extra rest

jgiglio@newsobserver.comJune 7, 2013 

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The ground crew secures the infield cover to keep the field dry at Doak Field on N.C. State campus in Raleigh, NC on Friday morning June 7, 2013. The Wolfpack is slated to play Rice in the NCAA Baseball Tournament later in the day, but rains from tropical storm Andrea are threatening a delay or a cancellation of the game. They use blowers to partially lift the cover to help prevent disease from setting in on the infield grass.

CHRIS SEWARD — cseward@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

— N.C. State tried to wait out Tropical Storm Andrea on Friday afternoon. The Wolfpack and Rice will have to wait an extra 24 hours to start their Super Regional series.

The heavy rain and floods in the surrounding areas of Raleigh postponed Friday’s opener in the best-of-3 series until 4 p.m. Saturday at Doak Field.

The series schedule got pushed back by one day, with Game 2 set for Sunday at 4 p.m. and Game 3 on Monday, if necessary. The time for Monday’s game has not been set.

The winner of the Super Regional series gets a spot in the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., next week. N.C. State hasn’t been to the CWS since 1968.

The NCAA, the coaches from Rice and N.C. State and representatives from both schools had originally decided to attempt to play the game at 7 p.m. on Friday, three hours after the originally scheduled start time.

N.C. State assistant athletic director Ray Brincefield said there were too many factors working against the game getting played on Friday, including the safety of the fans traveling to the game and the safety of the players.

“It would not have been good for anybody,” Brincefield said.

The Doak Field surface, which was rebuilt 10 years ago, was able to handle most of the rainfall, Brincefield said, with about 3 inches of rain draining in 30 minutes on Friday afternoon.

“The game is so important, the last thing we want is for the field conditions to be a factor in the outcome,” Brincefield said.

N.C. State (47-14) saw its season dissipate in a rainstorm in the Super Regional round last year at Florida. Ace pitcher Carlos Rodon was reduced to 3 innings in what turned out to be a 9-8 season-ending loss to the Gators.

Rodon (9-2) was scheduled to start the first game of the Rice series before Friday’s postponement.

The extra day off probably doesn’t hurt the Owls (44-18), who had to travel to Eugene, Ore., for the regional round and then back to Houston late Monday before leaving for Raleigh.

Any more weather delays would change the complexion of the series. With the CWS set to start next Friday, the NCAA has rules in place to complete the Super Regional round by Tuesday.

“They don’t want doubleheaders,” Brincefield said of the NCAA.

But that might be unavoidable. There are thunderstorms in the forecast for Saturday afternoon.

“When it comes to the weather, there are never any guarantees,” Brincefield said.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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