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Virginia downs NC State in ACC tournament but Wolfpack still alive

Did the ACC baseball tournament format influence decisions made by NC State's Elliott Avent?

NC State baseball coach Elliott Avent talks about how the format of the ACC baseball tournament impacted some of the decisons he made in the Wolfpack's loss to Virginia, Thursday, May 25, 2018.
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NC State baseball coach Elliott Avent talks about how the format of the ACC baseball tournament impacted some of the decisons he made in the Wolfpack's loss to Virginia, Thursday, May 25, 2018.

Thursday’s game in the ACC baseball tournament didn’t have any effect on N.C. State’s chances to advance.

That’s good for the third-seeded Wolfpack. Virginia got seven-plus strong innings from starter Derek Casey to hand N.C. State a 4-2 loss.

The Wolfpack (40-15) knew before Thursday’s game that it only needed to beat Florida State on Friday to advance to the semifinals. Not that N.C. State treated it like a meaningless game.

"We went out there and tried to win," N.C. State coach Elliott Avent said. "I don't think you ever play a meaningless game."

The Wolfpack led 2-0 after a home run from freshman catcher Patrick Bailey in the second inning and an RBI single by senior Josh McLain in the third.

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N,C. State's Patrick Bailey (5) celebrates with teammates after a solo home run in the second inning against Virginia to give the Wolfpack a 1-0 lead during the ACC Championship on Thursday, May 24, 2018 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

The Cavaliers, who lost to FSU on Tuesday, scored a pair of runs, on two hits, in the third inning to tie the game. UVA then took a 3-2 lead in the fourth on an unearned run after a throwing error by N.C. State second baseman J.T. Jarrett.

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Virginia's Jake McCarthy (31) dives safely back to first base after being caught in a pickle by N.C. State pitcher Reid Johnson in the third inning during the ACC Championship on Thursday, May 24, 2018 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

N.C. State had its best chance to win the game in the top of the eighth. Down 3-2 with runners on second and third, Brett Kinneman struck out against Virginia reliever Bennett Sousa.

Under the tournament setup, the top seeded team in each pool advances if all three teams finish with a 1-1 record in pool play.

Virginia already is done at 1-1. FSU (1-0) and N.C. State (0-1) are scheduled to play at 7 p.m. on Friday night.

The Wolfpack and Seminoles played a three-game series last weekend with FSU winning the first two games and N.C. State taking the last one.

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