Wolfpack not celebrating, just getting set for Bruins
N.C. State had just won one of the biggest games in program history, an 8-1 victory over rival North Carolina in the opening round of the College World Series.
But there was no outpouring of emotion on the field at TD Ameritrade Park on Sunday. The Wolfpack came to Omaha with a bigger goal than avenging an 18-inning ACC Tournament loss to the top-seeded Tar Heels.
“I didn’t really celebrate too much,” leadoff hitter Trea Turner said. “You have to move on and get ready for the next opponent, and I think we have.”
After setting a program record for wins Sunday and winning its first College World Series game in 45 years, N.C. State will face UCLA in a winner’s bracket game today (8 p.m., ESPN2).
The Wolfpack (50-14) won’t have ace Carlos Rodon, who pitched a complete game against UNC. But Turner said the team had a lot more depth than just one standout pitcher.
“He’s pitched some huge games for us all season, but we’ve won 32 of the last 36 and he didn’t pitch all those games,” Turner said. “Someone else had to step up, and I think someone will step up tomorrow and give us a big outing.”
Coach Elliott Avent said after practice Monday that he still was deciding among senior righty Ethan Ogburn (5-3, 2.70), freshman lefty Brad Stone (3-2, 5.28) and sophomore righty Logan Jernigan (1-0, 1-19).
Ogburn pitched five shutout innings in the first game of the super regionals against Rice, Jernigan gave up one run in five innings in the clinching game against the Owls, and Stone has the second-most starts on the team (13).
“I can’t say we’re leaning one more than the other,” Avent said. “Ethan threw very well his last time out, Logan’s been consistent his last three times, Brad Stone’s been our No. 2 guy down the stretch. So (I've) just got some decisions to make.”
Avent said the most important factor will be control.
“This ballpark is obviously a ballpark where you need to throw strikes,” Avent said. “You don’t have to help the opposing ballclub — it’s difficult enough to hit with these dimensions and the wind (blowing in).”
That would appear to favor Ogburn (14 walks in 60 innings) or Stone (22 walks in 58 innings) over Jernigan (25 walks in 30.1 innings).
The Bruins likely will go with No. 2 starter Nick Vander Tuig (12-4, 2.37), who recently was picked in the sixth round by the San Francisco Giants. UCLA (45-17), which scored two unearned runs in a 2-1 win over No. 4 LSU on Sunday, is hitting just .251 but advanced to its third CWS in four years with strong pitching and defense.
“They can run, they can slash,” said Avent, who coached at New Mexico State from 1989-96. “They’re going to do it all. That’s west coast baseball. It’s a little different type of baseball. I experienced it firsthand.
“You have to be ready for everything, but it still comes down to solid, fundamental baseball, and we’ve been doing that very well right now.”