OMAHA, Neb. (WNCN) – A shorthanded North Carolina State team fell to Vanderbilt in Friday’s College World Series game, 3-1. The Wolfpack’s loss sets up a winner-take-all rubber match between the two on Saturday with a trip to the championship series on the line.
First pitch Friday afternoon was delayed by more than an hour after several Wolfpack players were placed in COVID-19 protocol.
“NC State, the NCAA and appropriate parties are working together to monitor the situation,” the Wolfpack team tweeted.
Vanderbilt broke through with two runs in the top of the fourth. CJ Rodriguez’s single was enough to plate Dominic Keegan, who had reached on an error. Rodriguez later scored on a wild pitch to give the defending champions a 2-0 run on a pair of unearned runs.
The Wolfpack got a run back in the bottom of the fifth. Freshmen Carson Falsken and Sam Highfill led off with back-to-back base hits. Falsken came in on a sac-fly by another freshman, Deangelo Giles. Highfill was stranded on second base.
Vanderbilt restored its two-run lead in the top of the sixth courtesy of a Parker Noland single to score Javier Vaz.
N.C. State had the bases loaded with two outs in the seventh, but couldn’t score. The Wolfpack got two on with one out in the eighth, too, but couldn’t get anyone across.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Wolfpack got two on before a groundout to shortstop brought an end to the game.
Freshman Garrett Payne started on the mound for N.C. State. He gave up three runs, only one of which was earned, on two hits and three walks in his five innings of work. Dalton Feeny took over from there.
Kumar Rocker earned the win for Vanderbilt by allowing one run on five hits and a walk in his six-inning start.
Since the Wolfpack hadn’t lost yet in Omaha, it will meet Vanderbilt for a third and final time Saturday at 1 p.m.