COVID-19 Ends Wolfpack Run
The NC State men’s baseball team had its run at the College World Series end due to COVID-19 issues that left the roster depleted.
NC State was set to take on Vanderbilt in a winner-take-all game on Saturday, but that game was ultimately ruled a “no contest” by NCAA officials.
In a statement released by the NCAA, the decision was made after consulting with the Douglas County Health Department and the championship medical team. NC State now becomes the fourth team in 2021 to have its season end due to COVID-19 protocols.
NC State was looking for the first-ever CWS championship in school history, and there was plenty of momentum on the side of the Wolfpack. Vanderbilt was going to be the favored team on Saturday, but NC State had proven that it enjoyed the underdog role.
On Friday, a pair of NC State players reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, and that knocked a number of team members out of the lineup due to contact tracing. In the first matchup against Vanderbilt, NC State had just 13 healthy players, including just nine position players.
Boo Corrigan, NC State Athletic Director stated, “The timing of this is simply devastating for everyone involved, but it doesn’t diminish their incredible accomplishments this season.” The news sent shockwaves throughout the college athletics world, and there was plenty of discussion and criticism about the handling of this issue.
Several NC State players took to social media to express their disbelief and disappointment in the decision that was abruptly made by the NCAA. According to several sources, more COVID-19 testing revealed that other players had contracted the virus, and the NCAA was worried about a widespread transmission of the virus.
The decision helped push Vanderbilt back to the title game, and the Commodores are the defending CWS champions. Vanderbilt will also have its top two pitchers rested and ready for the title series after not being forced to use them on Saturday.
The opponent in the championship for Vanderbilt will be the Mississippi State Bulldogs, setting up a matchup of two teams from the SEC. Mississippi State was battling Texas in the other semifinal series and was able to advance to the championship in stunning fashion.
Tanner Leggett delivered a game-winning single in the 9th inning on Saturday night to give the Bulldogs a 4-3 victory over Texas. Mississippi State is the number 7 seed, and they will be facing the number 4 seeded Vanderbilt.
Mississippi State and Vanderbilt met up just one time during the regular series, and the Bulldogs took two out of three from the Commodores at home. The Bulldogs will be facing the top two MLB prospects, but Mississippi State has continued to get clutch hitting.
Leggett entered the game on Saturday night as a defensive replacement in the 7th inning but found himself at the plate with a chance to win the game. On a 1-1 pitch, Leggett drove the ball into left-centerfield to easily drive in Brayland Skinner.
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