N.C. State and Coastal Carolina spent more than 12 hours at Doak Field on Monday. It still wasn’t enough time to decide the Raleigh regional.
The Wolfpack had a 5-3 lead with one out in the top of the ninth inning when the rain — for the third time — washed the game out at 12:05 a.m.
The two teams will resume later Tuesday with the scheduled first pitch at 2 p.m. to complete the regional title game.
The Chanticleers have the bases loaded and one out. N.C. State won the first game of an eventful Monday 8-1 behind a sterling effort from senior reliever Will Gilbert. N.C. State did a little bit of everything to nearly complete its journey through the losers’ bracket.
Incredible defense, gutsy pitching and timely hitting, plus the ejection and suspension of coach Elliott Avent, highlighted the 17 complete innings between the two teams.
Coastal Carolina took a 2-0 lead on a home run by Michael Paez in the first inning, and led 3-2 after five innings, before its defense helped out the Wolfpack. N.C. State tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the sixth when third baseman Evan Mendoza bounced to short.
Coastal’s Seth Lancaster got the force out at second and threw the ball to first in time but Kevin Woodall couldn’t keep his foot on the bag to complete the inning-ending double play.
Junior first baseman Preston Palmeiro followed up the gift with a clean, two-out single to left to give the Wolfpack its first lead of the game. Mendoza added an RBI single in the eighth.
Cody Beckman walked the first two batters he faced in the top of the ninth, and then a sacrifice bunt by Connor Owings advanced the runners. Zach Remillard reached on an infield hit off of Evan Brabrand to load the bases.
Avent missed all of the second game and the final six innings of the after he was thrown out by home plate umpire Scott Higgins for arguing balls and strikes. Higgins warned Avent to stay in the dugout after a walk to Anthony Marks on a close 3-2 pitch.
Avent persisted and Higgins tossed him. That’s when Avent decided to charge onto the field and was not deterred by third base umpire Fred Cannon. Avent spun around Cannon and charged at Higgins to argue some more.
Avent’s antics went on a little too long for crew chief Dan Mascorro who ruled Avent violated rule 2-26 (AR7) for “continued arguing, offensive language or excessive expressions directed at an umpire after an ejection.” Avent was suspended for two games, including Monday night’s game.
Avent missed a career-long outing of eight innings by Gilbert, who struck out nine and allowed five hits. Gilbert hadn’t pitched more than four innings in a game before Monday.
The Green Hope high school product followed Johnny Piedmonte’s lead from Sunday and emptied the tank to save N.C. State’s pitching for the regional championship game.
Down 3-2 in the second game, it was N.C. State’s defense that saved them. With runners on first and second, and one out, Joe Dunand got a force play at a second base, after tracking down a ground ball that was hit up the middle.
Mendoza snared a sharp shot by Paez to third and got up and made a long, hard throw to get him at first to get out of the inning without giving up any further ground.
The N.C. State-Coastal Carolina winner will face either Rice or LSU in the Super Regional later this week.
Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio