CHARLOTTE, NC – No. 10 seeded NC State (36-20) defeated No. 11 seeded Pitt (29-27) Saturday night at Truist Field in the ACC Baseball Championship Semifinals, 8-3.
The Wolfpack enter Sunday afternoon as the first double-digit seed to play in the ACC Championship Game, returning to the title game after losing last year’s game to Duke, 1- 0. After defeating Notre Dame in the semifinals earlier this afternoon, North Carolina takes on NC State for Sunday’s championship game.
Canaan silver (8-1, 3.21 ERA) picked up the win after striking out seven Panthers while allowing just two unearned runs on five hits and two walks in 5-2/3 innings. Justin Lawson and Chris Villaman the two followed Silver in relief with Lawson allowing a run in 2-1/3 innings while Villaman pitched a three-out ninth inning to secure the Pack’s championship spot. The pitching trio limited the Panthers to 14 runners remaining on base versus seven for the Wolfpack.
Wasting no time in taking the lead, State’s offense snagged five runs on the board late in the first inning. Devonte Brown started with his 15e home run of the season. Two batters later Tommy White hit her 27e of the year, breaking the NCAA freshman homer record previously held by Georgia Southern’s Todd Greene. Josh Hood followed White’s bombshell drawing a walk with Noah Soles reaching a double immediately afterwards. JT Jarret then pinned to the ground at shortstop, driving Hood home. Dominique Pilolli wrapped up the scoring of the inning with an imposing two-run homer to right field well over 400 feet.
Brock Franks put the Panthers on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning, driving two runners home with a single to center field after Pitt charged with a pair of walks and an error. In the lower half of the fourth, LuJames Groover, III responded with a sacrificial fly loaded with bases to drive Payton Green house front plated soles Jacob Cozart and Brown with a single to left center. The last run of the game came in the top of the seventh inning with Ron Washington, Jr. hitting a solo home run over the wall into left field.
The Wolfpack will return to the home of the Charlotte Knights one last time this season, seeking their first ACC championship since 1992. The first pitch against the Tar Heels is scheduled for noon.