Wolfpack baseball heads into NCAA Tournament play
Elliott Avent thought his N.C. State baseball team was good enough to be one of the 16 teams to host a regional for the NCAA tournament.
The NCAA selection committee agreed with the Wolfpack coach on Sunday. Six ACC teams, including N.C. State (34-20) were selected to host the opening rounds of the 64-team NCAA tournament.
The ACC had the second-most teams picked to host, one behind the SEC’s record total of seven.
Only the host sites, not the seeds or bracket pairings, were announced on Sunday. The tournament field will be set on Monday, but N.C. State got good news on Sunday.
The Wolfpack has advanced through regional play four times since the format was adopted in 1999, and all four times N.C. State was a host site.
The Wolfpack won a dramatic 7-5 game with Georgia Tech in 12 innings on Friday night to salvage its last game in the ACC tournament. A 1-2 record in pool play did not hurt N.C. State’s cause with the NCAA committee, neither has losing nine of the past 13 games.
That’s because N.C. State’s strength of schedule ranks No. 2 in the country, according to D1Baseball.com, and 11 of its wins came against the top 25 teams in the RPI and 19 against the top 50.
N.C. State enters the NCAA tournament at No. 10 in the RPI.
“I think we’re hosting anyway, but every game you win helps,” Avent said after Thursday’s 8-7 loss to Miami at the ACC tournament.
N.C. State did get a win on Friday against Georgia Tech after a fluky finish that saw the Yellow Jackets drop a routine fly ball on what have been the last out of the ninth inning.
The Wolfpack rallied to win the game in the 12th inning on a home run by sophomore right fielder Brock Deatherage.
After the game, Avent explained his team’s struggles down the stretch.
“It looks to a lot of people like we might be limping in but actually if anybody in the country had to play the teams we played down the stretch, they would have a tough time faring any better,” Avent said after the Georgia Tech win.
Eight of N.C. State’s last 13 games were played against teams that will host regionals in the NCAA tournament. Clemson (41-18), which won the ACC title on Sunday in Durham, will host as will 2015 national champion Virginia (37-20), Miami (43-11), Louisville (47-12) and Florida State (37-19).
Of the teams picked to host, N.C. State and Virginia have the most losses.
Hosting has been a key to N.C. State’s postseason success. This will be the Wolfpack’s 12th trip to the NCAA tournament in 14 years.
Four times it has been a regional host (2013, 2012, 2008 and 2003) and each time it has reached the Super Regional round.
N.C. State will find out which schools will join the Wolfpack in Raleigh when the bracket is unveiled on Monday. Each site has four teams and the regional winners advance to the best-of-3 Super Regional round.
The eight Super Regional winners go to the College World Series.
Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio
NCAA tournament selection show
The 16 regional host sites for the NCAA tournament were announced on Sunday. The rest of the 64-team field will be unveiled at noon (ESPNU) on Monday.
Regional play begins on Friday. The 16 teams picked Sunday to host:
N.C. State (35-20)
Florida State (37-19)
Texas A&M (44-14)
South Carolina (42-15)
Ole Miss (43-17)
Mississippi State (41-16-1)
Texas Tech (41-16)